Torbjorn Zetterlund

Wed 11 2015

Check what data Google collecting from you

by bernt & torsten

You have probably heard about big data, for the service provider to get the data they need to be collected. One type of data is location data, location data can be collected if you have the location tracking on in your browser, mobile phone or other devices like a fitness band.

Let’s take a look at Gmail, if you use Gmail or any of Google’s apps, there’s a good chance that Google has collected some of your location data from your online activities. Do you know what they have collected from you, and do you know how to delete it?

Probably not, you are in luck, there’s an easy way to see exactly what Google knows about where you’ve been, and you can even see a map of past locations you have visited.

If you have enabled two settings tied to your Google account: location reporting and location history, then Google has location data of your activities. Head over to the Google page Location in Google Settings, there are instructions on how you can switch on or off the location settings.

Google tracks many things of our online activities – you can head over here to see what, and you will be greeted by the following screen

On this Google page you can switch on or off the following:

  • Your searches and browsing activity
  • Places you go
  • Your voice searches and commands
  • Information from your devices
  • Videos you search for on YouTube
  • Videos you watch on YouTube

Getting back to location tracking are you interested in seeing what Google has already been recorded. You can head over to the Google Maps website for location history.  Sign in to your Gmail or Google account that you use the most then you’ll be greeted by a screen like this.

You could see some data showing up immediately, in my case I did not see anything, this is all dependent on if you have location tracking on – which I do not have currently, last year during my cycle trip to Barcelona I used location tracking, so I could use Google maps to see where I was on route.

To find data, I used the calendar to go back in time – click on a date and then select”Show”  and how many days to show data for.

You can also toggle between a traditional map and a satellite view.

If you can not see any data, then that is good – you have not switched location on for your Google account or other Google Apps. If you see data, there is an option to “Delete all history” or to “Delete history from this time period,”.

Any questions, thoughts – feel free to comment below.