How Google tracks you, and what you can do about it

For a rough idea of how tracking works, use the browser extension Ghostery to see how many tracking scripts are watching you on a typical media site. (It doesn’t work for everything, but a large media site like Vice.com has 50+ trackers, with 40 of them focused on advertising).

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Capturing this user data helps sites sell their inventory to advertisers, but a select few companies operate in this capacity at a whole different level. Google and Facebook are the best of examples of this, as nearly $0.60 of every dollar spent on digital advertising goes to them. They both have the sophistication and ubiquity to capture incredible amounts of information about you.

GOOGLE IS EVERYWHERE

Today’s infographic, which comes to us from Mylio, focuses in on Google in particular.

The search giant is massive in size, and there is a good chance you tap into Googleverse in some way:

  • Global market penetration for Android is 61-81%.
  • Google has a 78.8% market share for online search.
  • The company generates $67.4 billion in annual ad revenue.
  • Google processes two trillion searches annually.
  • 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics to for tracking.
  • There are 700,000 apps available in the Google Play store.
  • 82% of videos watched online come from YouTube.
  • In total, Google has at least 79 products and services.

According to Google’s documentation, it uses these services to pull out information on the “things you do”, “things you create”, and the things that make you unique.

SEE WHAT GOOGLE COLLECTS

All in all, Google tracks your activity history, location history, audio history, and device history. It also builds a profile for you for serving ads – age, gender, location, income, and other demographic data.

You can view and actually download this history by using a tool called Google Takeout.

Many people understand that their data helps support advertising revenues on websites they enjoy. Others are rightly concerned about their privacy, and how their information is used. Regardless of which category you fit in, becoming informed about how privacy on the internet works will help you craft an experience that best fits your preferences.

credit: JEFF DESJARDINS

Jeff Desjardins is a founder and editor of Visual Capitalist, a media website that creates and curates visual content on investing and business.

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