This is a guest article by Frank.

Google, possibly more than any other corporation, become seemingly aware of the fact that information is power. Using many different vectors, Google collects information about the Internet, about countless Internet trends, and information about YOU, its users.

Just how much do the Google information-gathering channels capture about you and your online activities? When you sit down and think about the innumerable Google products that you use on a daily basis, it becomes overwhelmingly obvious how much data the Internet giant actually has on you.  Naturally, this gives rise to a number of privacy concerns.

Google is an unstoppable data collecting machine.

Google’s data collection can be understood from many different aspects. When an IP address is requested, it is logged for nine months, while cookies are used for tracking and setting purposes for up to 18 months. When you are signed into your Google account, the activities that you pursue on Google-owned sites are frequently coupled with not only your computer, but you personally.

In short, when you use Google services, Google knows exactly what you’re searching for, the websites you are visiting, what news you read, and more.  Google collects and analyzes an individual’s Internet tendencies to make marketing decisions, refine products, and maximize profits on advertising. In 2012, Google pulled in over $44 million in advertising revenue.  Non-advertising revenue wasn’t even a fraction of this figure.

Take a look at even more details with this infographic.

google1.jpg

The entire infographic can be viewed here.

Tapping into Google’s Data Vault

Even when you block Google Analytics cookies and use a search engine like Mozilla Foxfire, the websites you visit are still sent to Google because it hosts the anti-phishing service that checks pages before they are visited. For that reason, your Internet activities are not as safe as you think. Google makes it incredibly hard to not be tracked.

As a result of government cracking the whip from policies such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Google has been forced to hand over its data. Since then, an enormous amount of Google’s cached information is publicly available. In 2012, with no warrant necessary, averages of 89% of requests for data were fulfilled.

It is virtually impossible to go seven days without using a single Google service. Try it. This means no Gmail, no YouTube, no Google search, no Google Docs, and no clicking Feedburner links, and so on. Increased Googlization makes withholding the dissemination of information virtually impossible. Now you know why Google’s services are “free.” They are banking on the accumulation of your Internet information to make money from market research and advertising.

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