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Science
09 Jun 2017

How can you protect your own data from Google

Google has your data, every click of it

For every free bit of software that you download or service you use, chances are the makers are taking something (usually personal data) or the other to provide you this service.

There are no free lunches, never was and never will be. Google is no exception and it collects massive data, which it uses for its monetization strategies.

Here's how you can stop that.

In context

Google has your data, every click of it
Every click you make, it records

Services

Every click you make, it records

Google almost has an unhealthy control over the Internet; its services, such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, Chrome browser and others, may appear to be free but it's more of a trade-off for your data and the fact that it owns Android, the most commonly used platform, aids its cause.

However, you can safeguard your data if you want to.

Data

So how much data are we talking about?

The first part involves understanding how much of your personal data Google has stored.

I am assuming you are like most of the users, who make use of several of Google's services. So, you first need to fathom this entire data bank.

Type https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout in your browser and you will get to see all the channels where Google has data on you.

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It's all hidden in here

Method

It's all hidden in here

Typically this will consist of Search and Location data, YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive and others under "Select data to include." Okay the data you want to take a look at and click next.

Here it'll ask you, how you want that data delivered, usual File type: (.zip), Archive size: (2GB), and delivery method, "Send download link via email" works. Then click on "create archive".

Email

Get ready for a surprise

It will say, "Please note that archives may take a long time (hours or possibly days) to create. You will receive an email when your archive is complete." Don't cancel it, wait for the email to come and download it.

Now you have an idea how much of your personal data has been lying around with Google all this time.

This is how you take control

Delete

This is how you take control

Now, you may want to take Google's hands off some of the data it has of you. For this go to "myactivity.google.com", which will show all that Google has on you and trust me it does get a little bit scary when you click on the "Other Google activity" and then "Visit timeline" under "location history".

Go back and click on "Delete activity by".

Repeat

It's not a one time job

From "Delete activity by" start deleting the data you don't want Google to have.

Remember as long as you are using this service, this will be a periodical exercise.

Ideally, taking a look at everything once every weekend and deleting what you are not comfortable with is a good way to go about it.

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