Google is Always Watching: How to Protect Your Browsing Data
The next time you Google something, ask yourself whether you want the search engine to know what you’re looking for and why. If you don’t, you might want to try out Disconnect Mobile, an app that warns you when your phone connects to services it shouldn’t be connected to, such as Google and Facebook servers. The free app also gives you detailed data on which sites are tracking your movements across the web, including their IP addresses and user-agent details.
Google is always watching, and they’re only getting more aggressive. Companies have more access than ever before to a wide variety of our browsing habits because we give them this access via various websites like Google and Facebook. Google specifically wants all the data they can get so that they can better sell advertising space and provide analytics on their website visitors. This is all done without asking for permission first.
You can protect your browsing data by making use of tracking blockers like Ghostery or Disconnect. The effectiveness of these will depend on how engaged you are with ads, but most people report that the blockers made a difference in how much personal information was collected about them on a regular basis.
Why Should I Care?
Your browsing habits reveal so much about you and there is no shortage of people interested in snooping. Whether it is a marketing company trying to sell you something or a hacker stealing your identity, you should know that Google is always watching. When you use any browser, it tracks what site and page are being visited, who the other parties in the conversation are and how long on average they stay on each page. Every search is also recorded by Google; they collect, process and store information related to personal preferences, identifiers from access keys and cookies, location data from where you were when searching for something online. Data can be collected from phone applications as well if enabled through GPS location services- even if the app isn’t even open at the time.
Does it Affect Me?
Google may know a lot about your browsing habits, but you can still protect your browsing data. It’s easy to start. First, delete the cookies for Google Chrome that are stored on your computer by clicking on Chrome’s options menu and following these steps: 1) click Settings 2) click Show Advanced Settings 3) look for the Privacy Section 4) scroll down the screen until you see ‘Cookies’ 5) select Keep local data only until I quit my browser 6) finally, select OK
Here are some other ways you can keep your browsing data private: 1. Block ads by installing an ad blocker like uBlock Origin 2. Use Mozilla Firefox instead of Google Chrome
- Download a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which can hide your browsing data from prying eyes and prevent you from being tracked while online. Be sure to read reviews of any VPN you choose carefully, and remember that free VPNs may not provide adequate protection. 4. Look for privacy-focused browsers like Brave, Opera or Firefox Focus. They don’t store or track user history. 5. When all else fails, delete your Google search history and stop using Google for searches on sensitive topics like health and finance
Ways to Minimize Privacy Concerns
Despite your best efforts, you can’t completely safeguard your privacy from Google. However, the company does give users some options for minimizing their risks.
– Be careful about when and where you log into Gmail on public Wi-Fi. Logging in at cafes, airports or other open hotspots leaves your data vulnerable to snoopers or hackers. You also risk being tracked by the cafe’s internet provider (with or without your consent). – Delete old browsers tabs with sensitive information. – Use private browsing mode whenever possible on a PC. This means that when you close down an Internet Explorer window, it won’t save any of the sites you visited in a history list on the computer itself; if someone later opens that window, they’ll only see a blank page.
– Use Chrome’s incognito mode or Firefox’s private browsing mode. These do a similar job as Internet Explorer private browsing, but they’re better at masking your history because they don’t let you log into Google while using them. You can use these modes to look up sensitive information in public and keep it out of your history, but remember that anything you do in incognito mode won’t be saved on your Google account. – Install plug-ins that block tracking scripts on websites; for example, Ghostery blocks any beacons or other trackers lurking on a page and prevents them from transmitting information about you to third parties.