Is all the hype about being tracked and watched by Google and others overstated or perhaps not that important? If you would like to learn more then have a read of the following short article.
GOOGLE'S CORE BUSINESS
You may think that Google is in the business of providing you a free browser, email and a place to store your pictures. Why would they do that? Although they do offer these services you need to understand that Google's primary business is collecting, selling and using (to their advantage) information about you. The free browser, phone software, email and storage etc that they offer you are simply the means by which they collect your personal and private information.
WHAT INFORMATION IS GOOGLE COLLECTING ABOUT ME?
The short answer to this question is almost everything you can imagine.
If you carry a typical Android phone then Google is constantly tracking and recording your phone's physical location. In particular, your phone sends it's specific location (usually to within a few feet of accuracy) to Google several times every minute of every day. In other words, by way of your phone, Google knows where you have been, where you currently are and have a good idea where you are likely going next. Also, as most everyone carries a phone, Google is able to record who you have been with and when.
Most people use a variety of Google software products or products downloaded from the Google playstore. Through your use of these applications, Google is aware of what you are searching and viewing on the internet, what you are purchasing, your online comments etc etc. If you are using Gmail (as many do) they also have access to all of your email communications. Just think about all the information you view and exchange with others via your phone - Google probably has all of it. They may know more about you than your own family does.
HOW DOES GOOGLE USE ALL THIS INFORMATION?
If asked, Google will tell you that they use the information they collect to make your online experience better and more personalized. While there is some truth to this it really isn't the full story. Although they will deny it, Google sells your personal data and is how they make most of their money.
Real-Time Bidding is a complex multi-layer third-party ad placement process where publishers auction off space in their applications and websites. As part of the process sensitive user information including (but not limited to) physical locations, device identity, and internet browsing history is shared with many different tech companies and other organizations. Google has control of many levels of the Real-Time Bidding process through a variety of companies that it owns and/or controls. Their control of the process allows them to not only compile huge amounts of personal and sensitive information about you but also to profit by passing this data on to others.
Your cell phone provides Google (and other organizations they choose to share with or sell to) a tremendous amount of data about you and your activities - your identification, where you are, where you have been, what you search and watch online, what you purchase, your political and religious views, who you communicate with and often the specifics of those communications. Your personal information is compiled and sold (or shared) with advertisers and others for the purpose of targeting and classifying you in various ways and for a variety of purposes (not necessarily limited to advertising).