Early this week I was searching the interwebs– Google, of course– looking for some nifty neato topic to intrigue and delight when it struck me that every time I search for something, anything, Google gathers more data about me. If that feeling happens to a red, white, and blue Apple gal, what must it feel like to Android users or Pixel smartphone owners?
Oh, the pain! Oh, the humanity!
Did you notice that while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was on the hot seat (which is where technology executives go to make fun of members of congress) recently, that we heard little to nothing about Google’s misdeeds? That was by design. Google wants us to remember them as a verb and a search engine, but doesn’t want to be associated with Facebook.
Google’s data mining is worse than Facebook. The search engine giant is not content to just grab some information about you as you Google for nearby restaurants. No, Google wants more and gets more. Most websites use Google Analytics to track their visitors (I do not; Tera Talks is tracker free, cookie free, and, well, free). Google gets information about internet users simply by you visiting websites which Google tracks.
Google’s AdWords and AdSense are advertising programs which websites use to make money. Guess what? Google tracks those website visitors, too. Google also shares collected data with other advertisers so it gains even more information about you even when Google itself, its advertisers, or analytics are not involved.
What does Google do with all the information it collects about us? The search engine giant is less a technology company that competes with Apple than it is a giant advertising company that sells collected data to advertisers so they can push more ads in front of our faces so we buy more stuff.
Why does Android exist? Android has less to do with competing against iPhone than it does as a tool to gather information from users. That’s why Android is free for smartphone makers to install on their devices. Android helps Samsung and other device makers compete against Apple while Google gets to capture information from Android users.
When you use an Android smartphone, or visit a Google tracker infested website, or even search on Google, what you’re really saying is, “Please, Google. Take my personal data and use it to enrich yourself.”
That’s exactly what happens, you know?