post written by: Marc Chernoff
Google Owns My Identity: 16 Things They Know About Me
I am a huge Google advocate. I love their products so much that I use almost every one of them on a fairly regular basis. Much of my computer based productivity is performed online via Google’s offerings. In fact, based on my excessive use, I think Google may know almost as much about me as I do. I’m surely not the only G freak out there, because most of my friends and colleagues have an @gmail.com email address too… something I’d like to think I had something to do with.
A vast number of articles have been written on the topic of Google’s privacy policies. I know because I’ve probably read most of them. Many of these articles discuss the specifics how Google stores and secures their user’s personal information. Sure, I like to know that my personal data is secure… But have you ever actually compiled a detailed list of your personal information that Google does know? I just did, and it’s slightly startling!
Here are 16 things Google knows about me and how they acquired the info:
- My Full Name – It’s in my Gmail headers and a requirement on various Google service signup forms.
- My Physical Street Address – It could easily be pulled from the various Google Maps search queries I’ve performed. They could also get it from my Google Adsense or Checkout accounts.
- My Phone Number – Gmail used to require a cell phone number for signup verification. It’s also in my Adsense and Checkout accounts.
- When I’m Online – Since iGoogle is my homepage, I guess they know every time I open my web browser.
- My Latest IP Address – Based on the previous point, I guess they know every time my IP address changes too.
- My Popular Interests – My Google Reader and Google Bookmarks is chock full of my favorite news sources, articles, blogs, RSS feeds, online stores, etc. Toss in my YouTube habits for good measure.
- Every Website I Visit – Google is the portal to almost everything I see online. I also use Google Web History and Google Toolbar for convenience purposes and Page Rank info respectively.
- My Daily “To Do” List – I usually keep this updated in Google Notebook.
- My Schedule – Most of my major appointments and future tasks are entered in Google Calendar.
- Who I Know – Even if they aren’t reading my email, they have every entry in my Gmail Contacts, many of whom are Gmail users as well.
- What I Say – Between Gmail and Google Talk, let’s just say Google has clear documentation of what’s on my mind.
- What Stocks I Own – I typically uses Yahoo Finance, but I do have my stock portfolio setup in Google Finance as well because some of the tools are better.
- My Bank Account and Routing Number – Associated with my Google Adsense account.
- Everything About My Blog – Google Analytics tracks the stats for my blog and Google Webmaster Tools hosts my XML sitemap. So they know what I’m publishing, how popular it is, and who’s reading it.
- What I Look Like – As you can see, I have a photo gallery on my blog. In addition, I use Google’s Picasa Web Albums.
- Where I Exist Online – This one is obvious. Since they know my full name, email address, online alias, search history, etc., all they need to do is plug that information into their own search database and start cross referencing every other site where I have a visible account.
Now take all the information Google has on me, connect the dots and analyze it. I bet they could tell you more about the historical trends in my life than I could. Here’s to hoping that never happens…