If you're not paying for the product, you are the product. That’s especially true when it comes to the internet and the many free services you’re offered, whether it’s social media platforms or search engines. Internet companies often make their billions by advertising and harvesting their users' data. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get a small snapshot of the information these corporations have on you.
Tiktokker @yorgoandlea posted a video explaining how anyone can quickly find out what data Google knows about you.
Simply go onto Google and search “ad settings google,” then head to “manage privacy.” If you’re signed into an account, it will provide a list of categories that Google has assigned to you based on your search history.
This will include your age, your gender, your language of choice, relationship status, your education level, the field you work in, whether you’re a parent or not, and so on.
It seems to be fairly accurate, although things can be a little off. For instance, Google seems to believe one of our colleagues can speak Bengali (they definitely can’t).
It will even show you the kinds of brands and products that are being peddled to you. For me, it seems to think I might be interested in buying a Rolex. Clearly, they don’t have much information on my bank balance.
All of this data gathering, according to Google, is to ensure that they’re showing you advertising that correlates with your interests. It is possible to turn off certain categories. For example, if you don’t want any advertising based on your age, you can simply tell it not to use that data.
Google is one of the most pervasive data scoopers on the internet, at least in terms of your personal data and the big household names of tech. According to data analyzed by Atlas VPN in 2022, Google collects the most information about its users out of five of the most well-known tech giants: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple. However, the new kid on the block - TikTok - is giving them all a run for their money.