How does Google collect my personal data? How can I stay safe online? How will Google use my data? These are questions that plague most of us and if they don’t plague you, we bet this read is going to change the way you look at internet in general.
The internet has been abuzz with rumors and unconfirmed reports on how the data of an average person like you is used by Google and other search engines. It seems like Google has finally stepped up and released its very own resource center or shall we say, information portal which lays out the abc’s of your online privacy, uses of your personal data on the internet and by Google. Here’s a bird’s eye view of what Google’s advice on staying safe online and much more – Google Good to Know.
Google Good to Know – Stay Safe Online
Google Good to Know is divided into 4 sections, and Stay Safe Online is the first one. This section lays out information on basic things like how to make up a safe password, how to spot malware, how to shop online, what are secure sites and a short brief on online family safety.
Prima facie, most internet users who have an average understanding and knowledge of how the internet works will already be on top of these tips on online safety. However Google has made this a great place to start for beginners who are learning the ropes of the online world.
So for all you technically challenged users out there, the Stay Safe Online section of Google Good to Know is your step 1 in learning tips on how to protect yourself from the dirty side of internet.
Google Good to Know – Your data on the web
As the name suggests, this section is Google’s humble attempt at informing the lay person of how websites and search engines use their personal data or location to give tailored results.
If words cookies and IP address confuse you, we highly recommend a visit to this section because all this IT jargon is explained in simple language. From guessing your local language to remembering your previous searches to give you personalized search results, your IP address and cookies will do much more than simply give out your physical location. Definitely good to know, we think!
Google Good to know – Your data on Google
Before we even get to what this section of Google Good to Know is all about, let’s take a classic example. Let’s assume you searched for "priyanka chopra pics" in Google. According to Good to Know, the following will be stored on Google’s servers.
- Your IP address – your general location and your Internet Service Provider
- The exact time and date you searched for "priyanka chopra pics"
- Your exact search query, which in this case is "priyanka chopra pics"
- The browser you use, i.e. Internet explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc
- Your operating system, i.e. Windows 7, Mac OS, etc
- Cookies that will remember your search preferences and the websites you have visited
- Your web history, which is a log of the sites you have visited before and after you have searched for "priyanka chopra pics"
Have you just been left feeling stripped naked of your privacy?
We strongly suggest that all internet users must read up thoroughly on this bit because it is a real eye opener that may leave many thinking "Gee, maybe I should think twice before searching for content" All the information collected will stay stored in Goggle’s servers for a limited time, ranging from 180 days to 9 months or more. From using this data to give you personalized searches to target relevant advertisements and promotions, Google will use this to benefit you, themselves, and to a certain extent, their partners.
Google Good to Know – Manage your data
Did you know that Google had a special team called the Data Liberation Front which allows users to access or remove their private data from Google and its services?
It is things like these that Google points out this section of Google Good to Know. It lays out lesson 101 in how you can manage, control or erase to a certain extent, your data and information from Google services and websites in general.
Again, a stellar source of information that is free of jargon to help the average internet user learn a bit more on keeping a tab on how their data floats around on the internet. For example, if you are using Google Chrome, you can opt to surf in Incognito Mode which will make sure that your web history is not recorded in Google Chrome and all your cookies will be deleted when you shut down the browser.
I am sure after reading Google Good to know, your browsing habits are bound to change! What do you think?