The Unstoppable Data Collection Machine
There are many different aspects of the Google data collection. The IP addresses requests are made from are logged, cookies are used for settings and tracking purposes, and if you are logged into your Google account, what you do on Google-owned sites can often be coupled to you personally, not just your computer.
In short, if you use Google services, Google will know what you’re searching for, which websites you visit, what news and blog posts you read, and more. As Google adds more services and its presence gets increasingly widespread, the so-called Googlization (a term coined by John Batelle and Alex Salkever in 2003) of almost everything continues.
The information you give to any single one of the Google services wouldn’t be much to huff about. The really interesting dilemma comes when you use multiple Google services, and these days, who doesn’t?
Try using the internet for a week without touching a single Google services. This means no YouTube, no Gmail, no Google Docs, no Google search, and so on.
Why Does Google Do This?
As we stated in the very first sentence of this article, information is power.
With all this information at its fingertips, Google can group data together in very useful ways, and not just per user or visitor. Google can also examine trends and behaviors for entire cities or countries.
Google can use the information it collects for a wide array of useful things. In all the various fields where Google is active, it can make market decisions, research, refine its products, anything, with the help of this collected data.
For example, if you can discover certain market trends early, you can react effectively to the market. You can discover what people are looking for, what people want, and make decisions based on those discoveries. This is, of course, extremely useful to a large company like Google.
And let’s not forget, Google earns much of its money serving ads. The more Google knows about you, the more effectively it will be able to serve ads to you, which has a direct effect on Google’s bottom line.
Accessing the Google Data Vault
To its credit, Google is making some of its enormous cache of data available to you as well via various services.
Google Keyword Planner
If Google can make that much data publicly available, just imagine the amount of data and level of detail Google can get access to internally. And ironically, these services give Google even more data, such as which trends we are interested in, what sites we are trying to find information about, and so on.
No Free Lunch
Did you ever wonder why almost all of Google’s services are free of charge? Well, now you know. That old saying, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” still holds true. You may not be paying Google with dollars (aside from clicking on those Google ads), but you are paying with information. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you should be aware of it.