Google has become synonymous with Internet in the past two decades since its inception. You would hardly know anyone who hasn’t ever used Google or doesn’t use it on a regular basis. The tech giant has used this leverage with internet users to bring other services like Chrome browser, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps & a bunch of other Free services to complement its web searching capability. This transition from a search engine to a massive Web portal has made it into an internet powerhouse which processes thousands of gigabytes of data every second.
Our personal data that we are all too happy to give away on the Internet in return for a freebie has become a matter of great importance since companies like Google, Amazon & Facebook use this precious commodity of the information age to monetize their business models. And if giants like Facebook & Google can’t promise the security of your personal data from the prying hands of hackers as is evident from the data breaches earlier in the year then who could? It is time for all of us to start treating our personal data as a commodity and not just a bunch of letters & numbers. It’s time for users to take control of their personal data & be responsible for its usage and privacy.
The debate about data privacy, transparency & its usage has led Regulatory authorities to draft new regulations protecting the customers. GDPR & PSD2 in EU are torch bearers of this movement where the control & usage of the personal data is being given back to the users. Coming back to Google, if you are using it to search something or you are logged into your Google.com account it stores everything on its central servers & wiping your browser history does not have any material effect on this data. With the Google+ debacle behind it & under pressure from the new data regulations, Google has made it easier for users to delete search history within the Google search. Just click on the “Control your data in Google search” link right beneath the search field to customize your data settings. It is also making it easier to access controls like disabling Ads Personalization & preventing Google sites from saving your online activity. These changes are designed to give control back to the users of their account & make them self aware of their data. Google has made the changes effective immediately on the Desktop & Mobile Web search while iOS and Android updates will follow in the coming weeks.
Following is a detailed infographic which shows you how Google goes about collecting your personal data, building an online profile for you with your preferences to bring you personalized content & predicting your responses. Needless to say, it controls your virtual presence since it controls your data.