It appears that at least one article out there is accusing Google of listening to everything you say. Sounds creepy right? That's one of many articles that talk about Google violating our privacy. It sounds creepy to me! You might have heard or read the same story. If so, then you probably also believe that Google is recording everything you said.
So is Google listening AND recording everything you say?
Well, why don't we explore and expose the truth for everyone to see? That's exactly what I did in the video below. I took a look at my own account to see exactly what Google has saved. Does it have my voice recordings of everything I've said to and around my phone? Does it listen when I'm not even using the search function?
Google Tracking Other Activity
One of the things you see in the video is the Snapchat entry. It shows only briefly for a moment but I mentioned it. After I recorded the video I went back in to explore what this was all about. There were similar entries for Fitbit, and Twitter.
Turns out that because I'm using an Android phone and appears I've given Google permission to collect this type of data, the activity on my phone is also recorded. Not everything is recorded, but enough information to paint a good picture of everything I've done in any particular day.
Specifically, the Snapchat entry showcased how many times and at what time I had accessed the Snapchat app on my phone, the same applied to Twitter and Fitbit. It has recorded when I opened the app and how many times.
There are also the actual searches I've done at any given time, on Chrome, on Google (while logged in), and on Youtube, at least. Maybe more. If you want to see your own data saved by Google, you can go to My Activity page, linked right here.
What Can Google Do With This Information?
I can make a lot of conjectures about how I would use that data if I were Google. I would certainly be able to aggregate all that and average it out in order to present you with an advertisement related to Snapchat at just the right time. Or Twitter, or Fitbit, or whatever other app.
For example, if Google had this nailed down --and I don't have a reason to believe they don't-- then they can sell advertisement to a Snapchat index for example, like Snapdex or Ghostcodes and guarantee that Snapchat users would be targeted and not just anybody. They can even sell advertisement directly to Snapchat so they can send you targeted ads based on what you open before and after using the Snapchat app!
Far fetched? I don't think so, this is exactly how Google has stayed relevant all these years with their advertisement business. This is what they do and I don't expect one of the most profitable and powerful corporations in history to lose at this game. I'm just not concerned because of a couple reasons.
I like advertisements to be targeted to me instead of seeing random ads, and I know I have the option to partially or completely turn off the data collection and archival. But my questions to you are these:
Does this concern you? Did you know about this? And if you didn't know, are you inclined to turn these options off now that you know? Let me know in the comments or Twitter.