Google Collects/Tracks the following data:
1. Search queries (with misspellings)
2. IP Address (does not tell who you are or always where you are- only general location) BUT your ISP can match YOU with your IP address
3. Unique cookie; does not tell personal information
4. Keeps log of query, ip, cookie, browser, time/date
Note: After 18 months Google will delete parts of your IP address and cookie to ensure privacy
Pros of Internet tracking for Consumers:
- Users get personalized search results based on what sites they visit (cookie tracking)
Example; Is Golf a game or a Car?
- Users get “interest based ads” based on websites they visit.
- Local search results based on IP address
- Website owners Use Analytics program (such as GA) to gather visitor information such as location, time on website, top landing/exit pages and much more.
- Local business websites show up more often because of ‘personalized’ search.
Cons of Internet tracking for Consumers:
- Location is tracked based on IP address
- Search query logs are stored indefinitely
- Local results will show up when looking for national businesses. (in major cities only)
Advantage for Engines:
- Can offer highly targeted advertising solutions to business. Ads show based on user location and what sites user visits.
- Finds common misspellings and native language querries
- Saves data to offer personalized, local and instant search results (and future apps)
- Higher click-through-rate of ads increases profit margin
Tips for consumer privacy:
- If you have Google account go to www.google.com/dashboard to view all personal data collected so you can delete or opt out. (gmail, groups, web history, youtube, analytics, docs, maps, profile)
- To quickly clear Web History (when logged into google account) simply click “Web History” link at top of page.
- To opt-out of web history when NOT logged into google account click “Web History” link at top of page.
- To opt out of behavioral ad targeting (interest based ads) go to www.google.com/ads/preferences