Google’s new Privacy Policies enable Google to track, monitor and understand their users in ways that can be considered as borderline alarming. It is becoming increasingly difficult for users to keep Google from tracking their online whereabouts.
Of course, Google is free for everyone, if we don’t consider a few premium service offerings, but Google makes money out of the data users provide – to sell targeted advertising. Therefore for the sake of increasing revenue, Google has decided to club all of their service together to glean more user oriented data.
For instance, if you log into your Gmail account, you will be automatically logged into the Google dashboard, which allows you to access all the Google services without having to individually log in and out of separate Google services.
All of your activities across the Google dashboard, and the internet, will be tracked and accumulated in the server; therefore, you will be offered ads and a host of other services according to your browsing history. This means that once logged into the Google dashboard, all of your web browsing activities are tracked and logged automatically.
Google Tracking In Detail
But now, things have changed. Once you have logged in, you stay logged in. Therefore, your entire browsing history, search queries, websites visited, IP/location, gender, age, and all sort of personal information will be used to serve up ads.
If the Google bots have determined you to be searching for “walking canes”, or if you simply visited any website related to “walking canes” multiple times, you will be served with ads related to “walking canes” on all its Google services (including YouTube), whether you prefer it or not. And Google has found a name for this process: “Personalized Advertising”.
How Does Google Track Information & What Is Stored?
There are multiple ways for Google to track information. Cookies are installed on your computer and are the primary source of information for Google. This also helps Google let you stay logged in to the Google account and track activities across the Google services.
Google also uses several ad beacons, ISP data and a lot of other information readily available with your Google and ISP account. In fact, current Google tracking policies enables them to fully understand the user for gender, age, location, interests and a lot of identifying information that will then be used for serving ads.
Since all Google services are clubbed together, it has become easy for Google to store all information under a single roof. Data is even retrieved from your Gmail account, and even before you receive an email, all the contents are thoroughly scanned by Google bots. This allows Google to understand the user, their interests, profession, and a lot of identifying information pertaining to the user.
To know what Google has associated with your account, you can always visit the Google Ads Preference page. You will find it scarily accurate, which defines the efficiency of the Google’s tracking policies.
If you are not a Google account user, Google will still track your IP address and will install anonymous browser cookies to track your internet browsing activities. This is stored in a separate place until the time when you log into your actual Google account.
The Google bots are pretty smart to associate an IP with a Google user, and it will instantly associate all of your existing web history with your Google account. Unlike most other tracking programs, Google has an excellent tracking tool in place.
How Does Google Tracking Affect Your Privacy?
First and foremost, internet is supposed to be an open platform for exchange of information. Google used to be that medium, until they started chasing profits and revenue through advertisements. But internet is also a place that is full of information thieves, hackers, malicious agents and prying eyes.
Once an organization such as Google starts to track private and confidential information, it will be relatively easy for other agencies to start adopting this strategy. Essentially, hackers and even Government agencies will be able to use this data to initiate action against users fighting for their rights.
In terms of private and sensitive information such as credit card details and online banking information, it won’t be hard for hackers or advertisers to misuse this information, especially if it is transmitted through such Google tracking programs.
How To Keep Google From Tracking You
There are several powerful ways that you may adopt to keep Google from tracking you. Here is a list of some of the best methods to keep your information private and confidential.
Method 1: Deactivating & Deleting Google Web History Cache
It should be worthy of a mention that Google indeed provides an option for the user to visit their Google dashboard and change settings. Google dashboard is the primary platform that provides information related to all of the Google’s services and the data that is stored by Google via tracking. All you need to do here is visit the Google dashboard, sign in via your account and scroll down to the ‘Web History’ section.
You will be presented with the option for clearing your web browsing history and stop storing your web browsing activities. But be warned that this will only remove the information stored from the Google dashboard, and not from the Google server. Google will continue to monitor your web activities, but won’t use it to serve advertisements. Therefore, this method is not entirely effective.
Method 2: Stop Using Google
This is certainly a strategy worth considering, as there are alternatives for pretty much every Google service. Bing is a search engine that stands neck-to-neck with Google in terms of search results, but Google still owns a majority share in terms of search volume. Similarly, you don’t need to sign up for a YouTube account if you don’t share videos, instead only choosing YouTube for viewing videos. The same story goes for Google analytics and Gmail as well.
That being said, alternatives to Google services aren’t really the right deal. You need Google, and it is a fact. Google services such as Gmail and Google analytics are so simple and effective that it will be quite a humungous task to shift over to alternatives. Once again, this method is not really plausible.
Method 3: Using Virtual Private Network
Now this is something that can save the day for users oriented towards privacy. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) mean that all of your internet activities are encrypted, which will help you keep Google from tracking you. How? It is actually pretty simple.
Google installs tracking cookies to analyze web behavior. This can be done by analyzing web traffic. Even your ISPs may monitor your traffic behavior on request from Government agencies, or if you are using a public wireless network, chances are that you are being monitored by hackers and information thieves.
A VPN, on the other hand, can be used to encrypt your internet traffic and reroute your data through multiple servers that can be located anywhere in the world. When you use a VPN, your traffic will be encrypted by VPN protocols and server rerouting will make life difficult for tracking cookies and agents.
When your traffic is encrypted, it becomes next to impossible to gain data that is relevant to the user, mainly due to varied or inconsequential reference points and data encryption.
To check this out, visit the Google search page, or any other website that offers Google ads and take a note of the ads served to you. Chances are that they are relevant to your recent web browsing activity.
Try connecting through a premium VPN or even a free proxy service and try visiting the same website through the proxy. You will notice that you will be served with a different advertisement. This is what a VPN does for your entire web browsing activities.
Method 4: Using Browser Add-ons
If you don’t like the idea of spending money on a VPN, you can also use browser add-ons that prevent storage or installation of cookies. While a browser add-on wouldn’t necessarily encrypt data, it will prevent Google and other tracking programs from installing itself anonymously.
However, Browser add-ons can themselves be a part of other tracking programs, and this is not an entirely safe option. Also, while using browser add-ons to keep Google from tracking you, you are also bound to be susceptible to online information theft and privacy issues due to the open-source nature of these programs.
Finding A VPN To Keep Google From Tracking
You can use almost any VPN service to keep Google from tracking your whereabouts and internet activities. And don’t worry about Google or any ISP finding about your VPN usage, as using a VPN is perfectly legal, and in most cases, untraceable.
A VPN is the best way for you to keep Google from tracking your web activities and storing them in their server. You can browse through our reader’s choice of best VPN services to know more about the VPN service providers that we believe are the best in the industry.