Instead of throwing your phone into the river, blocking the internet, and learning to read paper maps again, you can not do much to prevent Google from collecting data about you.
That's what a computer scientist at Vanderbilt University says, which led to an analysis of Google's data collection methods. His report, released on Tuesday, outlines many ways in which the company gathers information about the billions of people who use the world's leading search engine, web browser and mobile operating system, not to mention products like Gmail, platforms like YouTube and products such as Nest.
Although the report does not contain bomb attacks, it gives an overview of Google's efforts to get to know as many people as possible. And it comes at a time of increased concern about how much information technology companies collect, what they do with it and how they secure it. Google has largely escaped the public and regulatory repercussions that are focused on Facebook.
"Of course there has been a lot of attention on Facebook in the light of Cambridge Analytica," said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, who published the study. (DCN is a trade organization that represents media publishers, including CNN.) "This quantifies and establishes a baseline of & # 39; Here's everything Google is doing & # 39 ;."
According to the 55 page-based report, Google does a lot.
"This report was commissioned by a DC professional lobbyist group and written by an Oracle witness in their ongoing copyright disputes with Google, so it's no surprise that it contains very misleading information," said a Google spokesperson.
According to the report, Google collects a lot more data than Facebook and is the world's largest digital advertising company. The enormous range of services, from Android to Google Search to Chrome and Google Pay, provides a fire hose of data.
The researchers claim that almost every move you make online is collected and collected, from your morning routine (such as music taste, route to work and news preferences) to messages (including calendar appointments, visited web pages & # 39; s and purchases made).
"At the end of the day, Google identified the interests of users with remarkable accuracy," the report states.
Google may collect data even if you do not use your phone. The study says that a sleeping Android phone with Chrome sent location information to Google servers in the background in a 24-hour period. The study claims 11.6 MB of data transferred between an Android device and Google servers after a day of "typical" internet use.
The flow of data includes information that people actively offer when they type in Google Search or search for directions on Maps.
But Google collects two-thirds of its data without any user input. The Android mobile operating system, the Chrome web browser, applications such as Search and Maps, and publisher tools such as Google Analytics collect and collect information from web searches, card requests and other online activities without you knowing or managing it.
Google has said in the past that it uses a lot of that data to improve its products. For example, the information can lead to more relevant search results.
But it also uses much of the information to deliver ads more effectively, which accounted for 86% of Google's revenue in the second quarter of this year. The more information about a person's interests, the better it can be to target ads.
Most people have long accepted that the use of Google's free products means that your data must be transferred. And the report stops describing effective tactics to increase your privacy.
Google's own settings do not necessarily stop collecting. A recent survey by the Associated Press showed that the company continued to record location data even after a user disabled the Location History option. Google said the data is used to improve the services, but has updated the institution's wording to make it clear that location data is still being collected.
Switching from Android to an iOS device can minimize the data collected, researchers said. They say that an iOS device usually does not send location data to the company unless a Google product is used or a website is visited that uses Google tracking tools. It did not differ from how much data an iPhone sends to Apple servers.
But even on an iPhone, using Safari and removing all Google apps, a person still shares some information with Google through advertisements and publishing services. Google owns companies such as Ad Stack, a decades-old online advertising service.
"It is almost impossible to do something digital without Google collecting data about you," Kint said.
CNNMoney (San Francisco) First published on August 21, 2018: 12:26 pm ET