The Google data vault

This is the second part on the collection of data by Google, the Google data vault. We continue where we stopped in the previous post, which you can find here. First we discuss some more apps and what data they store. After that we take a look at the consequences of this, is it good or bad? And what does Google do with your data?

Voice search data

When you use voice search or voice commands with Google assistant, Google collects audio recordings of your voice commands, as well as transcription data to understand and process your requests. This data may include recordings of your voice, spoken queries, and interactions with Google assistant. Google uses voice search data to improve speech recognition algorithms, enhance voice-based services, and provide personalized responses to your queries. Additionally, Google can use voice search data to train machine learning models and improve the overall performance of voice-enabled features across Google’s products and services.

YouTube

Yes, Google owns YouTube. Many people do not know this, but now you know. YouTube collects a vast amount of data. This includes information about the videos you watch, your interactions with the platform (such as likes, comments, and shares), your search history within YouTube, and demographic data such as age, gender, and location. YouTube uses this data to personalize recommendations, improve video suggestions, and serve targeted advertisements. Additionally, YouTube tracks engagement metrics to analyze trends, optimize content delivery, and enhance your overall experience on the platform.

Google drive

Google collects various types of data from Google drive, a cloud storage service. This includes:
File information on the files you upload, like file names, file types, file sizes, and timestamps.
Usage data on how you interact with Google drive, like when you upload, download, share, or edit files.
Device information on devices you use to access Google drive, as device identifiers, IP addresses, browser types, and operating system.
Google may collect location data when you access Google Drive.
Data collected from Google drive may be linked to your Google account, which includes information like your name, email address, and account settings.

Google calendar

Google collects various types of data from Google Calendar, a time-management and scheduling tool. This includes:
Event information on the events you create, like event titles, descriptions, locations, dates, and times.
Usage data, like when you create, modify, or delete events, and how you navigate the interface.
Device information like device identifiers, IP addresses, browser types, and operating system details.
Location data, if enabled, to associate locations with events.
Google may link the data collected from Google calendar to your Google Account, like your name, email address, and account settings.
If you share calendars or events with others, Google may collect data related to collaboration, such as attendee information, responses to invitations, and event comments.
Google may analyze usage patterns and trends across Google calendar to improve the service, personalize recommendations, and deliver targeted advertisements.

Ad interaction

Google collects data related to ad interactions. This includes information about the ads you click on, the websites you visit after interacting with an ad, and your response to targeted advertisements across various Google services and third-party websites. Google uses this data to measure the effectiveness of its advertising campaigns, improve ad targeting algorithms, and optimize the placement of ads to maximize user engagement and revenue.

Thid-party websites and apps

Also data from third parties is added to the Google data vault.
E-commerce websites: Google may collect data from e-commerce websites that use Google Analytics or Google Ads for tracking and advertising purposes. This data may include:
Purchase history, order details, and transaction amounts.
Data about how you navigate the website, view product pages, and interact with advertisements.
Details about actions you take after clicking on ads, like completing a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Mobile apps: Google collects data from mobile apps that integrate with Google services like Firebase, AdMob, or Google Analytics for Firebase. This data may include:
Information on how you interact with the app, including app launches, screen views, and in-app events.
Details about your device, like model, operating system version, and unique identifiers.
Google’s advertising ID, used for personalized advertising and ad attribution.
If the app requests location permissions, Google may collect location data for targeted advertising or analytics purposes.

Travel booking platforms: Google may collect data from travel booking platforms that use Google Maps or Google Ads for location-based services and advertising. This data may include:
Information about flights, hotel reservations, car rentals, and other travel arrangements.
Details about travel destinations, including search queries, route planning, and points of interest.
Data about travel preferences, like preferred airlines, hotel chains, or travel dates.

Social media platforms: Google may collect data from social media platforms that use Google Analytics or Google Ads for website analytics and advertising. This data may include:
Information about your interactions with posts, likes, shares, and comments.
Details about your demographics, interests, and behavior.
Data about traffic referrals from social media platforms to websites or apps.

Android

As a last note, Google owns Android as well. So yes, of course they use this to collect data as well.

Does Google store all my data?

Yes, as we have seen, Google collects data from every product they have. And this is all stored in the Google data vault. By analyzing these various data points, Google can create a profile of your interests, preferences, and behavior to deliver personalized search results and enhance your overall search experience. Google knows you almost better then you know yourself.

Google maintains databases with your information, including search history, location data, and other interactions with its products and services. This data is used to provide personalized experiences, improve its services, and deliver targeted advertising.

Now, how does Google generally store and update data?

Google creates profiles of you based on your interactions with its products and services. These profiles may include information such as search history, location data, device information, and preferences.

Data is continuously collected from various sources, including your interactions with its search engine, websites, apps, and advertising platforms. This data is stored in databases in the Google data vault and associated with individual user profiles.
User profiles and databases are regularly updated to reflect changes in your behavior, preferences, and circumstances. If you move to a new location or change jobs, Google may update your profile with this information based on your search queries, location data, or updates to your Google Account settings.
Google may track your interactions across multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, to create a cohesive view of your behavior and preferences. This allows Google to provide personalized experiences and continuity across different devices.

Google maintains databases with your information. But it is important to note that Google takes your privacy and data security seriously. Google employs various measures to protect your data and comply with applicable laws and regulations regarding data protection and privacy. Additionally, Google provides transparency and control over how your data is collected, stored, and used through its privacy policies and settings.

What happens with my data?

Google primarily uses your data for advertising purposes within its own advertising platforms, such as Google Ads and AdSense. This data is used to deliver targeted advertisements to you based on your interests, preferences, and online behavior.
It is important to note that Google does not sell your personal information to third parties. Instead, Google may share anonymized or aggregated data with third-party advertisers, publishers, or partners for purposes such as analytics, research, and ad measurement. Additionally, Google may share data with third-party service providers or partners to facilitate the delivery of its services or comply with legal requirements.

How does Google use your data for advertising?

Personalized Ads: Google uses data collected from various sources to personalize advertisements displayed to you. These personalized ads are designed to be more relevant and engaging for you, leading to higher click-through rates and ad performance for advertisers.
Ad Targeting: Google allows advertisers to target their ads to specific audiences based on criteria such as demographics, interests, and behavior. Advertisers can use Google’s targeting tools to reach users who are most likely to be interested in their products or services, increasing the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.
Remarketing: Google offers remarketing capabilities that allow advertisers to target users who have previously interacted with their websites, apps, or advertisements. This allows advertisers to re-engage with users who have shown interest in their offerings, potentially leading to higher conversion rates and sales.

Conclusion

The primary use of your data for Google is to personalize and improve its products and services, particularly its advertising platforms. Google collects data from various sources, as you can see in my previous post here.

Google’s primary source of revenue comes from advertising. By collecting and analyzing user data, Google can deliver targeted advertisements to you based on your interests, preferences, and online behavior. Advertisers pay Google to display their ads on Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and other Google-owned properties, and Google earns revenue from clicks, impressions, or other actions taken by you in response to these ads.

So, what is the problem?

While Google collects a lot of data about you, there is no need to panic. But, I must say that I do not feel very comfortable that companies are allowed to collect this much data. And here is why.

It is possible for governments to request access to user data collected by Google, as well as other tech companies, under certain circumstances. Governments may issue legal requests, such as subpoenas, warrants, or court orders, to compel Google to disclose user data as part of law enforcement investigations, national security matters, or other legal proceedings.

Google, like other tech companies, has procedures in place to handle such requests and may comply with valid legal requests for user data, subject to applicable laws, regulations, and legal requirements. However, Google also evaluates each request carefully and may challenge or refuse requests that are overly broad, lack legal validity, or infringe on user privacy rights.

Google publishes transparency reports, which provide information about the number and types of government requests for user data it receives from around the world. These reports help promote transparency and accountability regarding government surveillance and data access practices.

Additionally, Google may also disclose user data to government authorities in cases involving emergency situations, imminent threats to life or safety, or to prevent or investigate suspected fraud, abuse, or security breaches.

Conclusion

Now you have an idea of what data Google collects on you. It knows what you have searched on the internet, the videos you watched, the emails you send and the photos you uploaded. Plus a little bit extra. And this information is not deleted. This data will probably be there when we are gone. Can you imagine this?

Take some time to think about this. I do not think it is even close to a desirable situation.

In my next post you will see what Google stored about you.

You can view your Google history here.

This is the end of my post on The Google data vault.

Disclaimer

All tips and methods mentioned in this blog are tested on Windows 11. Please note that results may vary on other operating systems or versions of Windows. Adapt the instructions accordingly.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post on The Google data vault.
I hope you found it enjoyable and insightful.
Stay tuned for more content that is coming soon.


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