Google wants to know what you’re doing. All the time. Online, offline, maybe even in the shower…if there’s an ad agency that wants to know, they’ll try and find out. We talk about staying anonymous from the NSA and other spies, but what about those who we allow to spy on us?
Google Spying: They are Watching You Online, Offline is Next
Google spying isn’t quite as subversive to the public as the NSA’s spying program, and other government agencies, nor is it as harmful as what a WiFi hacker can do at your local coffee shop. It is, however, needlessly intrusive upon your activities, like someone following you around all day watching over your shoulder.
Google is so determined to track you, and know that their ads are working for their investors, that they have partnered with offline world data collection agencies Acxiom and DataLogix. Their goal is to match offline shoppers with their online activity through the use of loyalty cars and various marketing efforts. These are the companies that will take the Google spying program from the online to offline worlds.
Why is Google spying on your offline activities
You may purchase a few things here and there online – books, music, sex toys, etc. But the vast majority of your spending is still offline – groceries being the biggest. Google wants to be able to take the data of your offline purchase and tie it into what you have seen online.
Why is google spying on you like that? Because maybe you did see one of their online ads, poke around through the website a bit, but ultimately bought from the retailer’s brick-and-mortar store, rather than online. Putting that data together will increase Google’s ability to sell ads, make even larger stacks of money, and generally rule the internet world like dictators – all while you get jack$#!+ in return.
What’s really great is that one of their partner companies is Michael’s, the same one which recently had the data from 2.6 million credit cards stolen from them. Yes, this is where Big Data becomes a Big Problem.
How you can protect yourself from Google spying
If you have finally decided to draw the line, and protect yourself from Google spying on you, along with numerous other people who track your data, try these ideas out:
> Stop using Google for search: Simple, right? If they don’t know what you’re searching for, they can’t track you. A good alternative, which is dedicated to not tracking your online search history, is DuckDuckGo.
> Add Ghostery to your browser: This tool is designed specifically to keep people from tracking you. It will display a cute little blue ghost next to your address bar, you can see who is tracking you and turn off their trackers. I personally have it on my browser and seeing that little ghost protecting my data is a good feeling. An alternative is the popular AdBlocker Plus.
> Hide your IP address with a VPN: One of the most important pieces of information that Google tracks is who you are and where you live. A VPN will stop them from tracking this by changing your IP address to one of theirs. No one will know who you are.
Google’s spying ability will be at around zero if you follow these three pieces of advice, and I’d recommend that you start by choosing a log-less VPN like IPVanish. I feel that it is time that we, all the users of the internet, start to tell companies like Google that we are not for sale, that they should stop invading our lives further, and that it is time to stop spying on us.
Side rant: In regards to ‘loyalty’ program cards being used to track you: This is why all that’s in my wallet is my bank card, my driver’s license, some cash, and a souvenir receipt from my first genuine Philly cheesesteak from the night I went on my first date with my second fiance. We don’t talk anymore, but I still remember that grilled cheesey perfection.
Feature image via Aleutie / Shutterstock