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Author: nutkenz
Published: 2007-05-11 19:26:04
Last edit: 2007-05-11 19:20:20
Tags: google privacy search engines
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What is Google?

Google is the biggest search engine in the world. Every single day Google processes over 2 billion search queries. The driving force behind Google consists of over 450.000 servers, distributed over the entire globe.  The pie chart below indicates Google’s dominance in the global search engine market.

Why is everyone using Google?

Google can search through more than 8 billion web pages in under half a second. Searching through this amount of data manually would take a human being about 5.700 years. Google simply delivers the best answers to your questions and does so faster than most competitors. ‘Googling’ for information has become so common that ‘to google’ is now an official English verb according to Webster’s dictionary:

What does Google know about me?

If you frequently use Google, then it knows what you’re interested in, when you’re online and where you live. This information is gathered using your IP address, which reveals your location and internet provider. If you have a Google account then it also knows your name and e-mail address.  

Google also stores information in a cookie on your local hard drive which makes it easier for them to track you. Google was the first major search engine to attempt storing information indefinitely. For example; the expiration date of the cookie on your personal computer is set to 2038, which is longer than the average lifetime of the computer itself.  

If you’re using any of the additional Google services such as Gmail, Google Desktop, Picasa or Talk then it’s technically possible for Google to read every unencrypted file on your computer and listen in on all your instant messaging or e-mail conversations.

How does Google use this information?

It has been speculated that Google will use its knowledge to display advertisements relevant to your personal interests. Although Google claims not to combine data from different services, nothing prevents them from changing their policies and doing just that. After all, how much can any commercial enterprise be trusted?

How can I prevent Google from spying on me?

Although Google hasn’t done anything yet to damage our trust, taking precautions have never hurt anyone before. There are several options available to increase your privacy;

·         Disable internet cookies
·         Use a proxy to hide your IP address

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