Here is an example to make it simpler.
Let us say you are writing an article about HIV.
You search for “HIV”
You get the regular results and you move on.
Google remembers that you looked up HIV. Google already has your GPS location saved, your computer’s IP address and all the rest of information from your YouTube channel, Picasa, and Google plus account. Google can even collect private information from content of your email if you are using Google’s Gmail. So Google already knows what movies you watch on YouTube, pictures you browse on Picasa and keywords that you use frequently in emails. Even though Google will not divulge such information directly, it will still be shared with third parties in order to create targeted advertisement.
Here is the result:
When you browse the net, you will start seeing more advertisement about HIV medications and resources targeted based on the search term you used while preparing that paper on HIV. A coworker, a friend or family member can guess what search items you frequently use based on the type of advertisement they see pop up on your screen.
Imagine you search “bankruptcy” and think that your bank or credit company might eventually get such information. Imagine the personalized ads you will get if you search “gay”, “revolution” or “domestic violence resources”. You got the idea.
In addition, when your information and search history is stored it is at risk. Your search history can be ordered by court (It happened). Google could get hacked (It happened). A bad Google employee might go snooping (It happened)
There are safer alternatives to the search mogul. DuckDuckGo is only one out of many search engines that does not collect or track your search history. You remain anonymous.
You might also want to read my previous post: What is your Google Problem?
My other posts about social media:
- A personal assistant to manage your social networks!?
- Can we survive offline!?
- The power you didn’t know you had!