Google and Your Privacy

If people fear one thing about Google, it's that Google might invade their privacy in some way. That's a natural fear. As Google creates more and more services, it can gather an increasing amount of information about you. And there are also worries that Google tracks all of your searches, and it could then easily create a personal profile of you and sell the results to the highest bidder.

If you want the whole story of Google's privacy policy, head to the Google Privacy Center at It spells out in a good deal of detail what information Google finds out about you and what it does with that information.

But here, in a nutshell, is the scoop: When you create a Google account, you need to enter basic informationyour email address and password. Google doesn't share that information with any other website.

When someone visits a Google site or does a search using Google, Google servers record information about that visit, including the IP address of the visitor, the URLs, and the date and time of the request.

Key Term

IP address A unique number, such as, that identifies each computer that uses the Internet. The IP address of your computer is typically assigned by your ISP when you connect to the Internet. Your ISP changes your IP address each time you connect, and if you have an always-on connection (such as with a cable or DSL modem), your ISP also changes the IP address occasionally.

Google doesn't use that information to build a profile of you or track the searches you do; this information stays on Google's servers. By itself, that information doesn't identify you because Google, by itself, can't match an IP address to an individual. Law enforcement officials, however, can subpoena that information, and they can use it to identify you and the searches you do. They can subpoena your ISP and find out the subscriber name of the person with the IP address at a given time. So based on Google logs and information provided by your ISP, law enforcement officials can identify you and what you do on Google. Google complies with subpoenas.

Google also uses cookies, which are small bits of data placed on your computer that Google uses to recognize you when you log in. Cookies can store your personal preferences and other information. For example, Google uses a cookie to recognize that you have a Google account, so you don't have to log in every time to use some Google services.

Key Term

Cookie A small bit of data put on a computer that identifies a person and can store personal preferences and other information.

In addition, Google shares what it calls "aggregated non-personal information" with other companies. This aggregated information is information that Google records but that isn't tied to an individual. So, for example, it might collect information about what pages are most popular among Google visitors. It aggregates information from many people's Web-surfing activities to get this information. But it doesn't track any single individual's use.

Google Search and Tools in a Snap
Google Search and Tools in a Snap
ISBN: 0672328690
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 168 © 2008-2017.
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