If you haven’t heard by now, Google is making a shift toward a more transparent user experience with their applications. Much like how Facebook has cookies that keep an eye on where you go on the internet, Google is looking to read and capture your online data too. I shouldn’t say it like they haven’t been already, more like Google is being a bit more open about how they’re going to use your user data across their applications and online experience.
Lets start off with what exactly Google says about the information it collects from your system:
What’s going to happen is Google is going to be a lot smarter in targeting you with ads that are way more relevant based on your browsing and search history. For example: Sending an email to a friend about some outfits you saw at H&M that were on sale will get you ads not just from H&M but other clothing companies. Or if you’re on another website (while technically still logged in to Google) and browsing some topics on politics, or web design, etc, Google will track that and show those ads to you while you’re in Gmail, Google Plus, Search, and any other place they decide to stick ads.
The privacy risk is that Google is getting to be that “all-knowing” platform. Knowing how many hours a day you spend online, what you shop for, what you type or email to friends and clients, what websites you visit most frequently. It’s like a marketers dream to have all this relevant information on a consumer. Though they may not be giving your full government name, it’s going to seem pretty personal as you start to take notice.
So what can you do? For starters disable cookies on your browsers. Your first line of defense is there. Though some websites will actually stop you from using their site when they notice your cookies are disabled. If that becomes too much of a hassle, consider using a separate browser whenever you’re using your Google applications. Then you’re general search and browsing history will be limited to separate browsers. Another tactic is to have your browser clean out your history and cookies after every session. These may all seem cumbersome and time-consuming and Google is betting on that and general lack of vigilance. The choice is yours.