Google offers shortcut to data it stores about you

Google is watching, and listening, and remembering everything you do in its sites, apps and services. And the company is now making it easier to find out what data about you is being stored – and used to sell targeted advertising – from your searches and browsed content, to voice commands, to your YouTube choices, and your movements around the world.

“We know that from research, users are curious or concerned about what data Google has about them,” Google product manager Guemmy Kim told CNN.

A year ago Google announced “My Account,” a central location for personal-data storage and privacy settings. The company’s Kim admitted then that having had the settings scattered around different locations made it hard for users to manage their personal data.

“It wasn’t well organized and we didn’t give a lot of context,” Kim told NBC. “We are trying to take the mystery out of privacy.”

On Wednesday, the firm announced that Google app users can now say, “OK, Google, show me my Google account” to go directly to the “My Account” portal for privacy settings and storage. Soon, that shortcut will be applied to Google search, with signed-in users able to go to “My Account” by typing their name in the search box, the company said.

What Google didn’t mention in the announcement were the specifics of the data it stores, and which can be accessed – and deleted – via “My Account.” Audio recordings of voice search on Google are kept (and such searches have tripled on mobile devices in the past two years, according to the company), along with searches and browsed content from Google Chrome and other apps, location history, and YouTube searches and viewing history.

 

Photo: A Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa (AP/Google, Connie Zhou, File)

 

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  • Of course google is as ruthless as the Gestapo or KGB (seriously), but to keep their recommendations looking like nonsense (and thus easy to ignore), I send out a lot of false leads. The average Internet user could benefit greatly from learning those techniques, so as to frustrate the world’s most ruthless and dangerous empire since the Soviets and Nazis. Take heed – the Russians and Germans did not.

 
 
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