How much does Google know about me and you? I think it’s pretty safe to say that Google probably knows more about us than most of your closest friends and family members do and certainly more than any other website on the Internet. Obviously, Google stores its search engine query history in their massive data warehouses for up to 18 months. So while you may have never told another soul, Google doesn’t forget about that mysterious ailment that you were searching for “how to cure embarrassing rash” a year and a half ago. They can easily tie a specific user to a specific query with cookies and/or IP addresses.
And if you think you are out of the clear because you don’t use Google as your primary search engine, chances are that Google still knows pretty much everything about you because you most likely have used these services or come across websites that use these services and thus enables Google to track your activity:
- GMail - As of December 2009, Gmail had 179 Million users log into their site at least once monthly. Even if you don’t use Gmail, I’m willing to bet that you have emailed somebody who does. And thus, your conversation is tracked by Google.
- Google Analytics – By far the most popular website analytics service on the Internet. In fact, I just wrote a separate post about how many websites use Google Analytics about this. It is estimated that Google Analytics tracks 80.4% of websites on the Internet. So unless you only visit the same 20% of the Internet, you can count on the fact that Google Analytics has tracked your usage across several different websites.
- YouTube – Already the world’s second most popular search engine, YouTube is the premier destination for the red hot online video market. In fact, YouTube said they serve OVER 2 BILLION video views each and every day. That is insane!
- Google Maps – It is reported that Google Maps gets 55 Million unique visitors each month in the United States, which is significantly higher than MapQuest’s 38 Million unique visitors.
- Google AdSense – I can’t seem to find any statistics on exactly how many websites use AdSense to monetize their sites, but I think it’s safe to say that if it isn’t the most widely used website advertising network, then it is definitely in the Top 3. Anytime you view a website with Google AdSense and/or banner ads displayed by DoubleClick, you are being tracked by Google.
- Google Chrome – Google Chrome is already the third most popular web browser, behind only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, with its 7.16% marketshare of the worldwide Internet usage.
- Google Docs – More and more users are moving from desktop software such as Microsoft Office to using cloud-based document software, and Google Docs is the most widely used in this market.
- Google Android – Google’s mobile OS has already taken over the top spot from Apple’s iPhone. And as more and more Android-enabled cell phones continue to flood the market, the more popular Google’s mobile OS will be.
- Google Toolbar, Google Earth, Google AdWords, Blogger, Picasa, and on and on and on…
Basically Google dominates the Internet and most likely your online life as well. And since Google is tracking your online activity, keep in mind that anything you search for or visits to any websites can potentially one day be made public!
The easiest way to get the Latitude and Longitude coordinates of a Google Map is go to directly to the desired map in your browser and then plug in the following into the address bar: