How Does Google Use Your Data?

How Does Google Use Your Data?

Most of us use a Google product of some description on a daily basis. Usually, it's the search engine but you may also have a Google Home smart device or a Google Pixel smartphone that you use too. Don't forget that Youtube is owned by Google too. It's pretty hard to avoid interacting with Google if you are online, but what does this mean for Google user data?

You probably already know that Google collects information about you when you use their services but most people are unaware of the scale of the data collection and they don't really know what all of that data is used for anyway. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Google user data and what they do with your personal information.

How Does Google Collect Data?

Google is pretty open about the fact that they collect data and they're quite clear when you start your Google account what information they will be collecting. Google refers to this as 'your personal data' and the privacy policy you agree to when you start your account covers what they do with that data.

However, there are some things that we can infer about how much information Google has without really understanding the technical aspect of things. For example, it's pretty safe to say that they will have a record of your IP address when you use their services, the date and time of any activity on Google products as well as information about your device such as its operating system, browser type and IP addresses it has connected to before.

Google also allows advertisers to target users based on demographic information too. This can be inferred from the Google searches you perform, your location and even your browsing history through Google Chrome. Of course, this information is used more for advertisers than it is Google but it's an invaluable resource for them all the same.

As well as using cookies on Google services that are used to track the different pages you visit, there are other ways that Google tracks your personal data. For example, location data can be collected from your phone when using Google products. They will also keep a record of any online purchases that you make.

All of this Google user data is collated to build a customer profile. In other words, Google has a pretty good idea of who you are, where you live, how old you are, your gender, your browsing habits, and your interests. But what do they want with all of this information and how are they profiting from it?

What Does Google Do With Your Data?

There are a number of reasons that Google collects your user data and they can use it in various ways to improve their products and services and, in some cases, generate revenue.

Targeted Advertising

One of the main reasons that Google collects your data is to target you with relevant ads and this is a big part of their business model. Advertising revenue enables Google to offer free services such as Gmail, Search and Maps which would otherwise be paid subscription services. Whenever you type something into Google or click on an ad somewhere else online, that information is stored. It then allows Google to build up a profile of what you're interested in and where you are so that they can target you with ads that will be relevant to your interests. Businesses are willing to pay Google a lot of money to display these ads because they know that they are reaching the right people. It is this targeted advertising that helps Google generate the majority of its revenue.

Location Tracking

Google uses location tracking to give you personalized suggestions that are more relevant to you. For example, if you search for Italian restaurants, it will show you those that are closest to you. If you're looking for directions on Google maps, it will know exactly where you are and where the nearest public transport links are. Location tracking is also used to give information about how busy certain areas are or whether there is heavy traffic on the roads. In other words, most of the useful functionality on Google maps is reliant on location tracking.

Improved User Experience

Google likes to keep things simple because it helps make the user experience better. Google uses your data to try and tailor its products and services around what you're interested in. This makes it easier for you to find the information that you're looking for or locate places that are near to where you live or work. By measuring your Google user data, they can also see how people interact with their apps and services and how they like to use them, so they can tailor them to the end user and improve the overall experience.

Spotting Future Trends

It is important for Google to know what we're interested in and what we're looking for so that they can predict future trends. In other words, it's all about assessing user behavior and figuring out our habits. They collect as much data as possible from their users and then analyze it to make predictions about the future or to develop new products and services.

Updating Their Algorithms

Google constantly updates their search algorithms to try and return the most relevant results for every single query. They do this by analyzing how people search and what they click on in order to determine which websites should be at the top of the list when you type something into Google. But, in order to achieve this, they need all of your user data so that they can see what you click on and how you interact with the results. In other words, Google updates their algorithms by studying information about your browsing habits so that they can ensure that it's relevant to your interests.

Google's entire business model is built around using your data to generate revenue, primarily through targeted advertising. Unfortunately, you share all of this data for free and don't benefit, so you should consider changing your settings and limiting the data you share.