It is no new information, that Google has a lot of our data, but, it was only last week that we learnt that Google tracks our location even when we believe that we’ve disabled the option for Google to do so.
While we’ve tried to figure how Google tracks us and what measures can we take to prevent it from doing so, a new study says that it is almost impossible to escape Google’s data collection and location tracking practices as we perform our regular, day to day activities over the internet.
According to a report published by The Washington Post on 21 August, Computer science professor Douglas C Schmidt at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, led a research which found that a stationary Android phone, with the Chrome browser active in the background, communicates location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period. This means an average of 14 times per hour. 35 percent of all this data, is location information.
It was further revealed in the study, that Android and Chrome platforms are critical vehicles for Google’s data collection. Also, if you were to compare Android and iOS, a stationary Android device sends with Google nearly 10 times more data as an Apple device sends data to Apple servers.
If you are not using a Google device, or Google, simply due to the presence of Google’s advertising technologies, it is difficult, and almost impossible to escape the company from collecting your data.
If you read further into the study, you can gather the different techniques that Google has adopted for collecting data, such as Google Maps, Hangouts chat, YouTube, and also the DoubleClick Ad Network. The DoubleClick Ad Network is the business owned by Google that lets online publishers display adverts on their websites. The research points out that it tracks a user’s activity on the third-party web pages.
Comprehending a lot of this can be tough. Schmidt says that “these products are able to collect user data through a variety of techniques that may not be easily graspable by a general user… A major part of Google’s data collection occurs while a user is not directly engaged with any of its products.”
When approached by The Washington Post, Google said that the information in the study was “misleading.”
“This report is commissioned by a professional DC lobbyist group and written by a witness for Oracle in their ongoing copyright litigation with Google. So, it’s no surprise that it contains wildly misleading information,” said Google.