How to Stop Google from Tracking Me?
- February 14, 2023
- 10 minutes Read
- VPN Service
Google has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives, and the search giant’s network of interconnected applications and services collects, exchanges, and relies on vast amounts of personal information. For example, Google records our search history and the location of our mobile devices, the ads we watch, the videos we watch, and other information. If you want, you can allow Google to stop tracking you – at least in most cases – but you will lose access to all of Google’s personalization features.
Most people don’t realize that even if you don’t use any Google products directly, they still try to track as much as they can about you. Google trackers have been found on 86% of the top millions of websites, whereas 95% of the top 200 marketing websites use Google Analytics. This means they also try to track almost everywhere you go on the internet, trying to swallow your browsing history!
Google may collect more data and personal information than you think. With every search you do and every YouTube video you watch, Google is always watching you. Google Maps even records everywhere you go, the route you take there, and the length of your stay, whether you have an iPhone or an Android. It can be revealing and perhaps a bit confusing when looking at how much Google knows about you. In addition, Google can (and does) track your activity across many non-Google websites and apps. This may come as a surprise, even if you already know that when you use Google products like Google Search, Chrome, and YouTube, they collect large amounts of personal information about you.
So, do we stop Google from tracking our every single move online? Is it even viable at all?
This article will explore all the different ways online ushered about being tracked and how a VPN service provider can help you along the way.
Let’s get started.
What are the ways Google tracks us, and how can we resolve them?
While there’s not much you can do to altogether remove Google from your life, there are ways to limit Google’s reach and regain control of your personal data.
Here are some of the most common ways Google can track you and how you can reduce or stop it.
IP address tracking
IP address tracking is a technique used by Google to help determine your location. An IP address is a unique string of numbers and letters assigned to individual devices connected to the internet, and it can be used to determine your location. In the browser, access your account settings by finding Google Account in the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner, heading to Personal Info & Privacy, choosing to Go to My Activity, and clicking Activity Controls in the left-hand nav. Once there, you’ll see the Web & App Activity setting, which you can toggle off.
A fast and safe premium VPN encrypts your data and hides your IP address by routing your activity through the VPN server, so even if Google tries to monitor your traffic, all they will see is the IP address of the VPN server instead.
On the Web
Google uses personal data from Google Analytics, the Global Site Tag, and many of their other tracking tools and products so that they can target you with ads and content that they think you will want to see. The best place to start tracking Google’s tracking habits is the Activity Controls page in your Google Account on the web. If you’re currently signed in to Google in your browser, this link will take you straight there. The data that Google holds about you is divided into six parts. You can turn off tracking on any device using the toggles you see on the screen. The first two sections, Web & App Activity and Location History, are the most important. First, web and app activity is, as you might guess from the name, everything you do on the web when you sign in to Chrome, everything you search for when you sign in to Google, and everything you do in your apps.
Targeted Ads and Mobile Devices
Location services, also known as Location Accuracy, is another Google feature that uses your device’s built-in GPS, nearby cell tower information, and wireless access point information to provide additional information. A specific location like your IP address. Macs, PCs, iPhones, and Android devices all have some version of location services, which lets you use apps and services like weather, location-based reminders, and maps. In addition, third-party apps and websites (including those operated by Google) may request access to location services, allowing them to see your exact location.
So, in short, most of the services we use collect our data or track our behavior in some way. For example, social networks and search sites like Google or Facebook contain a wealth of information about our online usage and habits.
To opt out of ad personalization completely, consider using the toggle switch at the top of the page. Keep in mind that this won’t reduce the number of ads you see or affect the amount of data Google collects on you. But it can stop Google from linking the ads and personal information together. As a result, you’ll see the same number of ads around the web, and they’ll just be less tailored to what Google thinks you’re interested in.
Voice & Audio Activity
All your queries and interactions with Google Assistant are also permanently archived. Google says it’s doing this to make sure the virtual assistant listens when called and improve speech recognition algorithms. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you can turn it off.
This is where all your Google Assistant commands are stored, whether sent to your phone or smart speaker. For example, if you click on Manage Activity, you’ll get a list of everything you’ve said and even the option to play the recording.
Voice and Audio Activity is in the Activity Controls tab. Click the three dots next to a record to delete, the trash can icon to delete all day, or the Delete activity links to the left to delete everything in that category at once. Note that disabling the voice activity setting might affect some Google Assistant functions, such as multiple profiles on Google Home.
Most of the coordinates you enter into Google Maps will eventually be stored in Google’s database, allowing the company to track your other activities. Google also collects GPS and other sensor data from your device to provide more accurate location readings and directions and show ads, and optimize search results based on your location. In addition, there are other ways for Google to track your information using the Maps tool. One of them is Google Timeline, the part of Maps that shows your past search activities. Since it syncs with the images posted to your Google Photos account, it gives Google access to more of your data. In addition, mobile users can share their location details with others in real time. To turn off tracking in Google Maps, go to the “Location History” section of your Google Account and choose whether your account or devices can report Location History to Google. Then turn the location history on or off at the top.
Can VPN be a solution?
Having a private life online is becoming more and more difficult. That’s why people are turning to VPNs to protect users from digital espionage, tracking, data collection, intrusive advertising, and cybercrime. But can you be tracked with your VPN on?
That’s a natural question to ask.
The answer is that tracking your activities when using VPN can be difficult but not completely impossible. If Google really wants to track you online, it will most likely find a way to do so, whether you’re using a VPN.
Lastly, how to choose a premium VPN service Provider?
You trust its provider with your personal data, browsing activity, and even your security whenever you enable a VPN. For this reason, VPN providers are subject to a higher standard than most products. Therefore, you must consider it carefully when making a decision. Here are some other aspects to look out for when choosing a VPN provider.
Look for features like AES256 encryption, OpenVPN functionality, and products that reputable third parties independently audit. You should also look for premium VPNs that integrate open-source software where available and have clear vulnerability disclosure policies.
DNS leak protection:
Make sure the VPN service sends all your DNS queries through a secure VPN tunnel to keep them private at all times. It hides that you’re using a VPN, so no one can intercept your connection if they find out you’re doing this. It is especially useful when working in areas with limited VPN connections.
The best VPNs have a “zero log” policy that, if appropriately implemented, won’t store any identifying data. However, many vendors use the term with little supporting evidence, and it can be challenging to know with absolute certainty whether a VPN is logged.
In conclusion, it is possible to limit or stop Google from tracking your online activities by implementing a few measures. By using a VPN, adjusting your privacy settings, and opting out of personalized ads, you can reduce the amount of data Google collects about you. It’s important to be aware of the extent of data collection by Google and other tech companies and take steps to protect your privacy. However, it’s important to note that completely stopping Google from tracking you is nearly impossible, as Google’s services are deeply integrated into many aspects of the internet. Therefore, the best approach is to implement the measures discussed in this article and regularly review your privacy settings to ensure your data is as protected as possible.