Why Google Tracks User Data?
Basically Google is an online advertisement company generates most the revenue by displaying advertisements through its services like Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, etc. In order to generate more revenue Google follows the interest based advertising technique to show relevant ads by using personal information of the users. As you need to have a Google account (Gmail id) in order to use any of the services, it is easy for Google to track all your account activities and understand your interests.
Let us take an example – assume you are using a web hosting service and receive promotional emails from the hosting company on your Gmail account. On Gmail interface these promotional emails can be seen under “Promotional” tab. Now Google will display similar web hosting advertisements when you view the promotional emails. This will drastically increase the click through rate of the advertisements since it is relevant to the mail content and to the interest of you thus increasing the ad revenue for Google.
More Examples of Tracking
Google offers plenty of free services to ensure all users start using their products. Here are some of Google products you may be using on daily basis:
- Gmail for sending and receiving emails.
- YouTube – the largest video website in the world.
- Google Fonts – used on most of the websites.
- Google Search – have more than 60% of global search volume.
- Google Chrome – the most popular browser.
- Android operating system on most of the popular mobile devices.
- Google Play Store for digital marketplace.
Continuing the example of Gmail, you need to aware that each email sent and received using Gmail service is scanned by Google. The text and media content on the email are used by Google to serve related advertisements on your Gmail interface. Google keeps the history of each individual user under “https://www.google.com/settings/accounthistory” which can be easily used for understanding the interest of you and serve personalized advertisements.
Almost every single search on Google Search, YouTube and Google Maps are stored and tracked by Google for different purposes.
Tracking – View from Web Development
Let us take an example – assume you have purchased a theme from a developer’s site which uses Google fonts. Unknowingly you will start using Google fonts on your site – and Google tracks your usage data to understand the statistics of their font usage.
More About Google Privacy Policies
You can checkout the privacy policies of Google to see the how Google uses the information collected from the users:
We use information collected from cookies and other technologies, like pixel tags, to improve your user experience and the overall quality of our services. One of the products we use to do this on our own services is Google Analytics. For example, by saving your language preferences, we’ll be able to have our services appear in the language you prefer.
Google processes personal information on our servers in many countries around the world. We may process your personal information on a server located outside the country where you live.
If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts.
How to Stop Google Tracking?
There are few tricks to reduce the tracking from Google but it is evident that you can’t eliminate it completely. Also you can try with alternate available products without tracking.
Control the Settings
The first step is to control the types of data you want to share with Google.Go to Google account history page and clear all your browsing history. You can also make necessary settings not to record your activities. View the personal info & privacy section to control the data like ad settings.
DoubleClick Cookie Opt-out Plugin
Google uses the advertising cookie called DoubleClick cookie to track the activities and display the relevant ads. You can prevent the cookie by installing the advertising cookie opt out plugin from Google. This plugin is available for Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Google Analytics Opt Out Browser Add on
Besides the advertising cookie Google also tracks the user data through the popular Google Analytics code installed on most of the site by the site owner. If you want to opt out from tracking by Google Analytics then install the Google Analytics opt out browser add on. This add on is available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer version 8 to 11.
Stop Tracking on Mobiles
On iOS and Android mobile devices, you have an option to request websites not to track you. Of course obeying or not obeying this request is up to the website.