Whether you love it or hate it, Google is the biggest search engine on the internet. If you are among the people who contribute to the 5.6 billion searches made using the search engine per day, Google is watching you.
Google does not just track searches. They track just about everything you do online. This includes the videos that you watch on YouTube, your emails, the places you physically visit, and even the purchases you make online. It is not possible to keep your browsing history away from Google if you use the Chrome web browser. And any activity you perform using third-party apps that use Google's services provides more information to collect.
Douglas Schmidt from Vanderbilt University conducted a study and discovered that the Chrome web browser sends Google user data without the user undertaking any actions. This included the location of people.
Google Can Find Out Where You Live And Where You Go
When you factor in the many hardware products linked to Google, such as thermostats and Nest cameras, you come to realize that Google has eyes on you and your habits all the time, whether you are at home or out.
This includes where you live and work. Google knows when you leave the house and come back.
Stopping Google From Tracking You Online
It is difficult to stop Google from tracking you as Google's services are behind many apps that we use on a daily basis. However, it is possible.
Use A VPN
One way of keeping your online activities to yourself is to hide behind a VPN. VPNs effectively masks your physical location and encrypts the data going out of your computer.
A virtual private network replaces your true IP address and provides you with one from the provider's servers. This IP address can even be from a server in another country.
Change Your Search Engine
Google is the number one search engine in the world. Millions turn to it automatically when looking for something online. However, it is not the only choice.
You might want to consider using a different search engine, such as Bing or DuckDuckGo. This will stop Google from watching over your searches.
Move Away From Chrome Web Browser
Chrome is a popular choice of web browser, but it is owned directly by Google. With this in mind, you might want to consider moving away from Chrome to another browser.
Sign Out Of Your Google Account
Many people sign into their Google account and remain signed in even when they are not using Google products. To reduce Google spying on you online, sign out of your Google account on both your computer and smartphone.
Change Your “My Activity” Settings
Google is likely operating in your smartphone and this is how it knows about the places you visit and where you go. You might have noticed that sometimes a Google pop-up will ask you how your visit was to a certain place and ask if you want to rate it.
On your computer's web browser you can open up “myactivity.google.com”. Sign into your account, if you are signed out, and you can find out what information Google has kept about you for particular days.
The information stored here includes what you have done on your computer and smartphone. For instance, it will tell you what apps you used on your smartphone, how many times you used an app and the time you used it. Looking at this information yourself is shocking as you can see the level that Google tracks you.
Getting Specific Online Content Removed
If you happen to live in Europe, it is slightly easier to get Google to stop tracking you thanks to the European Court of Justice ruling that people have a right to privacy online.
Anyone requesting specific content to be removed from the internet in searches can use the “EU privacy removal” form. This form means internet users can request their information be deleted from the results in search engines. This is far from an easy process, however. The steps are as below:
- Go to the EU privacy removal form webpage
- Enter your name, country, and email address
- Then enter the URL or URLs that have the information you want removed
Bear in mind that your online presence is not being removed, only specific online content.
As you can see, it is not easy to stop Google, from tracking you, but with a little know-how and mouse clicks, you can reduce what data Google collects.
This information, along with a VPN, goes a long way to ensuring your data remains safe and secure and away from prying eyes. Virtual private network providers offer a range of software and apps for computers and mobile devices.