I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m a big fan of Google. I have a Gmail account, a YouTube account, and a Google+ profile. I use Google Calendar to plan my life, Google Reader to keep track of news and blogs, and Google Analytics to collect interesting data about visitors to my websites. When I have a burning desire to know something, my first port of call is Google Search. Google makes my online life easier, and since the all-encompassing Google Account appeared several years ago, the hassle of having to login to all these services individually disappeared. How much do I pay overall for these services? Not a penny.
Instead, Google display adverts, and in most cases, the adverts are fine-tuned to what Google think you’d be interested in. They do this by looking at the kinds of things you do with their services, and build-up several profiles of you based on this data. So, if you get a lot of emails about computers, the adverts on Gmail might be more about computers than anything else. On the other hand, if you watch a lot of cat videos on YouTube, you may get more adverts on YouTube depicting cat products (doubtful, but you get the idea).
So what’s changing?
Reducing your Digital Footprint
I do share the concerns that most people have of giving away too much information in the first place though. You should always have as much control over your personal data as you can, and it is with this in mind that I present the following useful links:
- Google Dashboard - This really is the control centre of all your Google services. You can manage practically all settings (privacy and otherwise) from here.
- Web History - If you haven’t already done so, clear and disable Google Web History, which records every search you make from the main Google website.
- Ads Preferences - Still don’t like the idea of targeted adverts? Opt out!
- Google Account Settings - Take some time to make sure your Google Account settings are in order. These are (currently) different to your Google+ account settings.
- YouTube Video History - Clear and disable your watched video history on YouTube.
- YouTube Search History - Clear and disable your YouTube search history.
Of course, if you have really strong objections to Google’s new policy, you can always delete your Google Account.