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For many, Google is still a black hole

Google emerged from the BackRub search engine developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brian in 1996 and has been online as Google since September 15, 1997. You can find out what Google knows about you and how you can delete the data here.


The business model of Google is based on the collection of user data from different sources so that the most suitable advertising content can be displayed to the users. Therefore the search engine creates a profile from the collected data. In the meantime, this data does not only come from the Google search engine, but countless services such as Youtube, Google Ads, Google Analytics and, above all, Android and apps help Google to know enough about us.
In the meantime, Google has become more transparent - especially as a result of pressure from the European Union - and now shows more clearly which user information is stored on the company server. This link takes you to your data.

Overview of all your activities

It no longer matters how you use Google's products, Google's obsession with collecting and the information about your activities can be found in this structured overview. Regardless of whether you use your Andriod smartphone, Gmail or the Chrome web browser, here you can find out what you have done with which app, which websites you have visited, which articles you have read and when. Practically everything that Google learns about you is shown: which places you visit, which pages you are on, which videos you watch and what you search for on Google.
Google knows exactly how often you use WhatsApp and which additional programs are active in the background.

In the meantime, Google gives you the opportunity to decide to what extent and, above all, which activity data should be stored. The control center offers the option of switching off location tracking so that the search engine no longer saves your location or tracks your search behavior.

If you want to prevent Google from storing data in the future, deactivate the relevant option in the control center. However, in some cases certain services will no longer work properly. For example, if you deactivate the voice and audio activity, the “Ok, Google” command to activate the assistant may no longer be recognized correctly.

It is also important to know at this point that deactivating activity tracking does not delete the existing data. You have to do that separately. The scenario just shown serves only to pause the tracking.

Which of your devices use Google services?

You can find out which devices you are logged into with the Google account on and when they were last used under this link.  In addition to the device name, for example, you can find out which device was last located at which location and which browser was last used on it. If one of these Android devices has been lost from the list without having removed your Google account beforehand, then the corresponding device can be removed directly from the list. This will log you out of all Google apps on the respective device.


Big Brother is watching you

Many apps on your Android device require the location function to be switched on in order to work at all, and the GPS is actually switched on by default. Google saves the recorded data clearly in a so-called “timeline” and each individual visited location is marked on Google Map. In other words, Google keeps a detailed record of how many places you have already been and records the movement pattern for each day.
This goes so far that a distinction is even made between the different means of transport such as local transport, walking, car and plane. In return, you get the service that you can not only view this information in the Google Timeline, but also edit it and add images.


It doesn't even stop at videos

Since Youtube is part of Google, you also know here what you as a user have been looking for on Youtube and, above all, which videos you have viewed. This may be very useful if you want to get back something that you once looked for or looked at. But information about you is also in the hands of better corporate databases.

Data access through installed apps

But other apps also want to access data - directly or in the background. Which these are and how many online services are linked to the Google account is listed here. Here you can see these applications for which you have already agreed to the link and which data these respective services can access.

Deletion of all collected data on Google

However, it is also possible that you delete your data on Google. In general, you can initialize in the activity overview. Basically, the data can be deleted manually in every category for every app. The time period can be limited as desired:
Here you can delete all data from today, yesterday or from the last seven or 30 days. Alternatively, you can enter the period for which the data should be deleted from the activity history. In addition, there is also the option of only selecting individual services such as YouTube or GoogleMaps to delete the data.

Google now offers the automatic deletion function for the selected data. In this way, users can be sure that their data will be automatically deleted from Google's servers at regular intervals. You can choose between deletion after three months, 18 months or after 36 months. Google reserves enough time to process the collected data.
So if you do not want your data to be used for Google's business model, you cannot avoid short-term, regular and manual data deletion. Or you block the collection of data completely, with the consequence that some apps will no longer work.

Download of all collected data

In the meantime, Google also has to make all collected data available to its users. As you can see, you can select what you want to check or see here. Then select the method of transferring the export file and its frequency and the file archive type (.zip, .tgz) and the file size. Depending on the size of the file, it can take several hours to days to make it available for download.

You can view the data after unpacking with the on-board resources (mostly web browser) of your own operating system.