Can you imagine life without Google or spending more than a few seconds searching for any information? I bet you can’t because it’s a privilege that makes your life much easier and more comfortable. But there is a big problem with search engines – they damage privacy and it becomes an issue.
It’s almost impossible to protect personal data since everybody is collecting information these days. For instance, Facebook recently announced that it can track even non-users when they visit a site or app that uses their services.
In such circumstances, it is crucial to understand how search engines function and what they do with your personal data. This post will explain to you how things work in this field.
How Search Engines Collect Data
Search engines possess every user’s browsing history. It may not sound like much, but let’s see what it really means in case of the biggest player on the search engine market, Google.
This company collects all sorts of user-related data, but it can be divided into three basic sections:
- Things you do. Google monitors every action you take online, including search queries, websites you visit, videos you watch, ads that you click on or tap, your location, device information, and IP address and cookie data.
- Things that you create. This section consists of emails you send and receive on Gmail, contacts that you add, calendar events, and photos or videos that you upload. Besides that, it holds documents, sheets, and slides on Drive.
- Things about you. These are essentially personal information such as your name, email address and password, date of birth, gender, telephone number, and location.
It’s a short list of data mining units, but it obviously consists of everything you’ve ever done online. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of decades, Google knows a lot about you and uses this information to provide you with tailored online experience.
Why Search Engines Accumulate Personal Information
The more you know about users, the easier you can approach them. Search engines know this very well and so they collect personal information to enhance their services. First of all, they do it to improve website ranking.
According to SEO specialists at aussiewritings.com, Google analyzes user behavior and learns how people react to online content, which helps this company to upgrade search engine algorithms. As the result, only the best and most popular websites can make it to the first page in search results.
Secondly, Google can serve you personalized ads because it knows what you do, feel, and like. It can put things into perspective and display the right advertisement at just about the right time. That way, Google drastically improves the effectiveness of digital advertising.
How Does It Jeopardize Privacy?
With so much information hovering around the Internet, it is reasonable to assume that security breaches will happen from time to time. Identity theft is one of the biggest concerns because it’s getting easier to find someone’s personal information online and use it to steal their money.
Most websites ask you to leave your name, email, and birthday. Although it seems like nothing more than useless basic information, hackers can easily exploit it to access your bank account or any other digital property for that matter.
At the same time, continuous data accumulation also means humans are being treated primarily as consumers. You can’t hide from search engines – they will always find you and serve you customized ads.
If you are a 30-year-old mother, they will offer you baby clothing. If you are a high school boy, they will suggest you buy video games. In each case, there is no way to hide from search engines and that’s something that scares us all.
Search engines damage privacy and it becomes an issue because there is no way to protect yourself completely. Google and other platforms use personal information to improve user experience and customize advertising, but it comes with a cost.
You can only try to minimize the damage by using ad blockers, reading permissions or privacy policies, and turning off tracking features whenever possible. Caution is extremely important because your data can be hacked and misused, so give your best to leave as much information as possible out of their reach.
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