Patricia is concerned about what Google is doing with her information. “There have been several articles and comments lately on sundry media about Google privacy, and options to delete different types of information.  All of the instructions start with something like, “First you need to log into your Google account.” Does anyone know what Google does with the information it obtains from people like me, who do not have Google accounts?  I usually use Google search and I read Google news.  However, I do not have a Google account, so, obviously, I do not use any service that requires one.  Consequently, I will never be wandering around with a logged in device.”

I suppose the policy is published somewhere, but I don’t immediately have time to look for it.”

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Google has an extensive Privacy section with a lot of information posted online. The quickest way to find it would probably be to type “Google Privacy Policy” into Google’s search engine. Google is really in the business of information. They offer free services in order to collect information about you which they use to sell targeted advertising and earn billions.

Let’s break down what Google says they do with your information.

According to Google when you visit a website that uses Google ads, use one of their social products or tools, your browser will send the web address of the page you’re visiting, your IP address and other information to Google. They may also leave cookies or read the cookies that already there.

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When you use an app, they’ll receive the name of the app and an identifier that lets them know which apps they’ve shown you on other sites and apps.

Here’s what they do with the info. This is verbatim from Google’s website:

  • Make ads more effective
  • Provide reports of ads activity to advertisers and websites hosting the ads, and to ensure payment to those website publishers
  • Help website and app owners using Google Analytics to understand how visitors engage with their sites or apps
  • Improve your Google+ experience
  • Detect and defend against fraud and other security risks to protect users and partners
  • Meet our legal duties
  • Improve our products

So they use it to target specific ads to you based on your location, the sites you’ve visited and the topics you’ve searched.  They also measure traffic to websites to make sure that the websites get credit for the views from the advertisers.

Google Analytics is a huge part of their business that the ordinary web user might not be familiar with. They crunch those web traffic numbers and do vast amounts of research to help advertisers learn the best way to engage consumers.

By “meet out legal duties,” the company means that if they get a warrant for your information, they have to provide it.

Lastly, they take a look at your behavior and the behavior of other users and make changes to their services accordingly.

~ Cynthia