How Much Does @Google Know About Me?

Google’s company philosophy has ten (10) key tenets. Number 6 on that list:

You can make money without doing evil.

I’ll let you guys debate whether Google is good or evil to your hearts’ content. Heck, I’ll even let you make the case that Google is God. I’m just here to state some facts.

If you have a Google account, then Google may be storing information about you in twenty-seven (27) different apps/products.

27. Seriously.

Don’t believe me, check out the list at the end of this blog.

If you use Google products as much as I do, then you may already realize how helpful Google can be. Me? I’m married with children. I lean pretty heavily on Google to help me remember who needs to be where, when they need to be there, and how I’m supposed to get from here to there. As an Android tablet user, I also find Google Play pretty handy.

But that convenience comes with a price. Here are a couple of things that you may not have realized Google knows about you:

  1. Android – Google knows what kind of Android device you use. More importantly, it knows what data you’ve backed up from the device to Google servers. (Do you know which of your apps are backing up to Google? Do you know what data they’re including in those backups?)
  2. Chrome Sync – In addition to Chrome apps and extensions, Google backs up autofill data and passwords.
  3. Contacts – The people you know, Google knows.
  4. Docs (Drive) – Every file you’ve saved to Google’s cloud, here.
  5. Finance – Tracking your stock portfolios in Google? I hope you didn’t put any account numbers in any of the freeform text fields.
  6. Gmail – ’nuff said.
  7. Location History – If it’s not disabled, Google knows where you’ve been.
  8. Picasa – That’s right! Google has my pictures, too. Granted, Picasa links automatically redirect to Google Plus, but are there any pictures out there that you don’t want online?
  9. Play Store – All the apps on my Android tablet. Nice.
  10. Voice – Every text, every voicemail… it’s all here.
  11.  Wallet / Checkout – Ah. The coup de grace. Google has my credit card number.

“That’s okay, Jerod,” you say. “I trust Google. They’ll go to the mattresses to protect my data.”

FBI and NSA aside, what about criminals? You know, the bad guys who want to steal information from you that they can make a few bucks by selling that data on the online black market.

If one of these criminals gets your Google password, they can simply go to the Google Takeout and download all of your Google data in one zip file. The best part? You won’t even know they did it until you see charges for beer and cigarettes on your credit card one Sunday morning from half a world away.

So what should you do? What can you do? Easy.

  1. If there’s any data Google has about you that you don’t want them to have, go to Google Dashboard and delete it.
  2. Use a strong password to protect your Google account.
  3. Use 2-step verification to login to your Google account.

Oh, and if you’ve got Google Web History turned on, you may want to delete that data, too. You’re welcome. 😉

List of all twenty-seven (27) Google products in Google Dashboard.

  • Account
  • AdSense
  • Alerts
  • Analytics
  • Android (tablets and phones)
  • Calendar
  • Chrome Sync
  • Contacts
  • Docs
  • Finance
  • Gmail
  • Groups
  • iGoogle
  • Location HIstory
  • Maps
  • News
  • Offers
  • Orkut
  • Picasa
  • Play Music
  • Play Store
  • Profile
  • Talk
  • Tasks
  • Voice
  • Wallet / Checkout
  • Webmaster Tools
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