See everything Google knows about you with one search

One option is to turn off ad personalization. Just toggle Ad personalization off on your ad personalization settings page here. While this will stop Google from collecting your personal interests for ad recommendations, it won’t delete all your information.

Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you

Want to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.

Google knows where you’ve been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/maps/timeline?…

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

A Google map of every place I’ve been in Ireland this year.

Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity

A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.

Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic “girl”).

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It’s just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I’m interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)

Privacy options in Facebook.

They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

My Google Takeout document.

Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).

data

Google knows which events you attended, and when

Here’s my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I’ve ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).

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And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.

data

Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I’ve ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I’ve recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I’ve done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).

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And they have years’ worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos

data

Google has every email you ever sent

Every email I’ve ever sent, that’s been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.

data

And there is more

I’ll just do a short summary of what’s in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I’ve ever installed or searched for.

data

They also have every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you’re not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you’re suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

A caption was corrected on 28 March 2018 to replace “privacy options in Facebook” with “privacy options in Windows 10”.

  • Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette
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Does google know everything

These private details that Google has collected are compiled from the millions of Google searches people do every year. These searches are then placed into an algorithm that breaks down all your likes and dislikes, dreams and fears. This data ensures you see only ads and pictures that will entice you to a sponsored website or purchase.

Its system seems to work pretty well. According to websites like TNW, Google ads bring in around $36 per user. Google had over 4 billion users attributed to its search engine in 2019 alone. With results like this, it’s safe to say its ad personalization efforts are effective.

Erasing your data

Don’t want Google to know all your ridiculous interests down to your secret love for comic books or curious obsession with searching for urban transit? You can limit how much information Google collects about you and erase some of the information with a few simple tricks.

One option is to turn off ad personalization. Just toggle Ad personalization off on your ad personalization settings page here. While this will stop Google from collecting your personal interests for ad recommendations, it won’t delete all your information.

Another option is to manage your data and personalization in your Google account. We’ve got a step-by-step guide showing you how to erase all the data Google knows about you. Tap or click here to check out our helpful guide.

If you’ve ever been curious about what secrets the internet holds about you, here’s your chance to find out. Use Google’s search feature for a few laughs about your secret interests. Then gain control over what information you are sharing in the future.