When you get online, what is the first thing you do? For me, I usually check my emails first and then begin checking news, social media and then search. Google still controls the majority of internet users when they search, as well as the online services. Most people are looking for where they can get their car oil changed, movie theaters, new restaurants and more. But what people don’t realize is, all of this activity is being tracked. Not only are the sites you click on being recorded, but also the searches you are searching.
Whether you’re using Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, Google Drive, Google maps or Google +, you’re searches and activity are being monitored and saved. Many people use YouTube to listen to their favorite songs or watch viral videos. People also use Google Drive to store important documents, sometimes very sensitive information. All of this information can be seen by Google and advertisers to be used to target you. Internet provider Dell Gines created and infographic that shows how Google is tracking alot of the services that you use. You may think clearing your internet history or using a proxy is a way to solve it, but you’d be wrong.
You may be thinking, well I don’t really care about advertisers seeing what I’m searching for, so it’s not that big of a deal. But authorities from the U.S. government can obtain your search history from Google at any time they ask for it, without a warrant. This is due to the 1986 electronic communications privacy act. Not only is Google required by law to cooperate with authorities and officials, those in power are asking for this information more and more. Since January 2011, there have been almost 40 thousand requests from government and law enforcement for this private data.
So where do we go from here? Well in the next few years there may be different laws put into place that can help keep your internet privacy. There may also be software and other encrypting options available to keep your search history private. Today your best options are to change your IP address frequently or use something called and Anonymizer so Google can’t trace your IP address. You can also use a VPN or virtual private network, which has the ability to hid your IP address and make it harder to track. Another good way is to adjust your settings to either erase cookies after you close your internet browsing windows or to search in private browsing mode.
There also is the most effective way of all and that is to not use Google. But who’s crazy enough to do that? I know i’m not but maybe there are some brave people out there who can’t stand Google and all of the services it offers. There are other alternatives such as Yahoo mail for your mail, Pandora for your music and Bing for your searching needs. If you plan on slowly getting away from Google, good luck.