In my last blog post, How to Sync Outlook With Your Smartphone, I mentioned looking at the Android phone and some of the neat features and tools Google offers, mostly for free. It is easy for me to put all of my personal data into Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Picasa, Google maps, etc. In fact, trying to use an Android phone without Gmail is actually quite difficult. So, if you use all of these different applications, what type of data can Google access?
Consider for a moment what Google knows about me if I use all of the offered Google functionality:
- Who I am and where I live
- All of my email addresses and passwords
- My Facebook and Twitter usernames and passwords and, by extension, what’s on my Facebook page, who my friends are, what I’m tweeting and about and who I am following
- The name, address, employer, phone numbers, and email addresses of everyone I have even a tenuous relationship with, because I have over 2,000 contacts
- Pictures of my family, friends, and places I have visited
- My shopping list plus what movies I want to see and what books I want to read because I keep these in Notes that I sync with my Android phone
- What I will be doing for the foreseeable future and what I have done in the past – it’s all in my Google Calendar
- Where I am right at this moment to within a couple of meters, what direction I am moving in and how fast I am going
- What I am discussing with people via email
- What I search for on Google
- What websites I visit, assuming I use Chrome as my browser
- What is on my to-do list
- Any content in my Google documents
With all of this information they have, what does Google do with it? They do what most of us are trying to do: make money.
- The primary way they do this is by selling very targeted advertising. Google’s main source of revenue is based on:
- Who I am
- Where I am
- What I search for
- My online behavior and interests
- My content and contacts
So why does Google offer great free products? The more you use their products, the more data you give them.