Online Support Computing Ltd

What does Google know about me? New ‘My Activity’

What does Google know about me? New ‘My Activity’

Back in 2014, we revealed the extent of the personal information Google monitors. That was in the wake of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing into the dubious behaviour of the USA’s National Security Agency.

At that time, personal privacy was at the top of everyone’s minds. Now that the dust has settled we decided to take a closer look.

Google’s new ‘My Activity’ site

Upon investigation, we discovered that in the past few days, Google has launched a new site, My Activity.

The site is simple and just displays a timeline of activity on your Google account, meaning you can see exactly what Google knows about you.

The default view summarises information in a way that’s easy to digest, highlighting Google’s open approach to data collection.

What’s included in ‘My Activity’?

The full list of products included in My Activity, which you can search for and filter by are listed below:

Ads Express

Maps

Search

Android

Finance

News

Shopping

Books

Goggles

Now

Video Search

Chrome

Help

Play

Voice & Audio

Developers

Image Search

Play Music

YouTube

So why is all of this information needed?

This information is kept to make Google money, essentially.  It’s used to target ‘personalised’ advertising to you.

It’s in their interest to increase Advert click rates, because it makes them money from AdWords (Pay-Per-Click advertising) customers.

Is my information shared?

Google only utilises data collected internally, and makes a point of mentioning the following:

  • They don’t sell your personal information to anyone
  • You control the types of information collected and used (through )

You don’t have to agree to anything you feel to be intrusive. If you want to delete any stored information or stop activity being tracked, follow this guide from Wired.

So what are the benefits?

Google collects a lot of information about you. But there are benefits to it.

The more they know about you, the more they can tailor their services to you.

In addition to the benefit of visibility through the My Activity tool, there’s also the new Ad Preferences settings.  This essentially hands you the power to tailor your own ads – which until now was done automatically through the use of cookies.

You can fine tune exactly where Google thinks you’ve been on the web, as well as being able to remove activity that you don’t want used for advertising purposes.

Take this as an example.

You’ve been doing gift-shopping online – and you don’t want others to know about it.

Delete all related activity, and you’ll prevent Google from generating ads it considers relevant to it.

Mobile Device Management

If privacy is vital for your business then it’s important that sensitive information held on your mobile device is secure.

If you’d like more information on Mobile Device Management, such as BES 10, please contact us or call on 0208 232 1190.