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Does Google collect too much of our personal info?

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Google Logo dark (Image credit: Android Central)

Just about everyone has a Google account. If you use YouTube, Gmail, or just own an Android phone, chances are you've got one. A Google account is almost essential these days for doing anything online, but as we all know, a heap of personal data is collected and saved by the company.

This doesn't matter to some folks, but for others who want to keep their information as private as can be, it can be a heated issue.

A lot of the Android Central forum users got to talking about their thoughts on Google's practices of collecting so much user data, and this is what they had to say.

You got it almost exactly the same as I would have said it. Google collects a lot of data, but it's misguided to think that any other company isn't collecting the same data, or at least as much data as they possibly can. What the companies DO with the data once they have it is the important part, and Google and Apple are the only two companies that I'm aware of that are even trying to do things...

Itsa_Me_Mario

I don't consider my personal data important enough to be worried about companies collecting it, sharing it or selling it. As long as they pay taxes on that transaction.

xocomaox

Absolutely, Google and every other company is mining far too much personal information from their users. You know it is far too much based on what the company states it is doing with the information, especially targeted advertising. Whether or not you care about how much info they are collecting is probably a different question.

ManiacJoe

For me? Nope. I know what they collect -- I allowed it -- and I know what they do with it. Sure they allow 3rd party people to use it but by going through them -- therefore the 3rd party doesn't know who I am or anything. I find that the best one versus the others that say they will give to 3rd parties .. then who knows what they do with it.

Almeuit

There's a lot to be said on this topic, so we'd love to hear from you – Do you think Google collects too much personal info?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

39 Comments
  • Same as Facebook....we all clicked yes after scrolling faster than we should. So quick answer is, yes they do....but at the same time, we all agreed.
  • Being realistic, if we are getting a free service we should expect some form of payback. (an oxymoron)
    I am happy to take what Google gives me in exchange for using my data as long as they keep it anonymous and safe.
  • Exactly. And they do. Nothing is really free. We all pay for it somehow: either money or ads. I'd rather let them collect info on me and serve me ads that are actually relevant.
  • Yes, but Google provides a much more valuable service to us than Facebook - imo.
  • Nope. I'm fine with everything being collected as long as it enhances the services I use. If not, I'm out. Targets ads are much better than random ads and personal info isn't leeaking out.
  • It cracks me up all the folks (not to mention Congress) screaming and yelling about what Snowden revealed the NSA is/was doing YET defending or hardly a peep about what BIG DATA is doing...
  • Snowden doesn't contribute to their reelection campaign. Every single member of Congress who "grilled" Zuckerberg the other day was cashing his checks. Bought and paid for. Both sides.
  • Yes, the soft ball questions zberg answered was a bad show. Reminded me of bud selig questions about steroids. Rule number one in trials/Congress inquiries...never ask a question that you don't already know the answer.
  • You're making assumptions
  • Yes. The fact that they use our data against us should be the more alarming problem.
  • How does Google use it against us?
  • The simple fact that there is no definitive answer to this question is the problem. No matter what anybody says to this question it will not be known until after there is an issue with it and we all find out the hard way such as with Facebook. Google is a corporation, it is not your friend, your mother, your brother or your cousin. As much as I like the functionality of some of their products, I still must take responsibility for protection of my own data. The fine print on all of the data sharing agreements is not designed to protect you they're designed to protect the business.
  • Yes, I'm just looking for how it's used against us without jumping to conclusions. I'm aware of the the vast data collection, but we are under the impression that it used for targeted advertising and the unfortunate consequence of our news feeds separating everyone into their respective echo chambers. But that's not used against us like in the case of Facebook data mining gone wrong. If Google+ ever caught on and had political ads, we could correlate that to being used against us, but it never did and Google as far as I know doesn't influence our thought process or manipulate us to that level, aside from the echo chamber effect, which people themselves need to open their minds. I'm aware Google isn't anyone's friend. They are literally a stack of paperwork. But we have an agreement with them to provide us a service. Facebook on the other hand didn't actually do anything to us, they just chose money over us and allowed others to manipulate us. Google hasn't gone down that path as far as I know - yet.
  • Indeed!
    It will be a non issue for most customers until it "is". We can only enjoy being "free" users until we decide collectively or individually that the cost of being passive users is significantly negative. This "price" will always be very relative.
    We can only "use" wait and see.
    Remember that it only truly mattered to Zuckerberg when the issues came to "public" light. The permissions we generally brush over with all of these services and games are soooo broad. This causes the biggest issues as one person's acceptance of terms becomes a gate way to everyone you are connected to that has no idea that they are exposed. The most interesting parry of this is that the residual permissions are near open to any use as they are not governed. Anyway what do I know? Hehe
  • I like your comment. I believe Google and others collect mass data on individuals - it's like amassing huge data points - undetermined data - mass amounts - that originally has no focus or cause. Then by doing queries that are specific - anyone can drive to a conclusion - advertisement or otherwise. It's like creating a database - you fill it with raw data - then do your research. Whomever is doing the research with that data has a specific interest involved... It could be key words - enough of them - cross referencing items - you could possibly define the 'context' correctly... There is your good and bad... And a very good and reliable advertising tool or method...
  • Exactly.
  • They are increasing the price of tin foil wrap!
  • Just for laughs, type into a Google browser: "what does Google know about me?"
  • First result:
    https://privacy.google.com/your-data.html
  • Maybe they do or maybe they collect the same amount as any other company, I don't really know.
  • Problem is is that you have to agree to the terms when you turn on your phone for the first time or you can’t use google services making android almost useless. With that said, I don’t cry over it nor do I condone it. It is what it is and if I want to continue using tech, I’ll have to live with it being as cautious as I can, if not, I’ll recluse myself in a shed totally unconnected.
  • That is actually not entirely true. You can use any Android phone completely without setting up a Google account or use any Google products. There are plenty of equivalent apps available to use your phone productivly. The question is rather: Do you trust those other services with your data? I thought about it many times but always decided to stay with Google. I never heard they misuse my data and all their service work seemlesly together.
  • That was my point. If you don’t agree, most, or all, google services are rendered moot. Why at that point would you buy an android phone? But honestly, just because you haven’t heard of misuse doesn’t mean they aren’t abusing. We just haven’t heard about it yet! But I digress, I don’t think google is abusing but I do think many apps Android entertains do. Same with Apple. Point is, you either at this point, accept it or move on. I’ve chosen to be cautiously accepting.
  • That's not true. I see customers every day who have never signed into their Google account. Search, Maps, and a few other Google services still work and most OEMs bundle email, music, and other apps that don't require you to have a Google account to use.
  • Nope. I agreed to it, and I'll agree to more when new services are introduced. Google has given me exactly zero reasons to believe that my data is being mishandled, whereas Facebook seems to make a careless mistake every couple of months. Further, I appreciate Google's increasingly-transparent nature about what data is collected and how it's used. Frankly, I cannot imagine going back to manual photo transfers, paper maps, or a calendar that's not accessible everywhere. Given enough time, their services always come out on top and being a part of the analysis is honestly pretty dope because it means that the next iteration is even better.
  • Exactly. I think you're more worried about Facebook than I am though.
  • I don't think they collect enough data.
  • Whatever they do with it, I just want out. We need a new platform - by us for us :) I don't care for any "convenience" bs sold from Google or Apple. I can't rely on any party that collects and stores my data and can't guarantee it was deleted for good. It's too intrusive.
  • I've swung to both ends of the pendulum on this. I was all in, all Google, then I went all out, zero Google for about 6 months - and now I want back in, knowing I have a better awareness of their usage of my data. They provide some great services that add significant convenience for your data, and I'm now willing to let that sacrifice happen. Why? Two reasons... First, leaving Google completely doesn't necessarily correlate with getting your privacy back. It just correlates with having your lack of privacy spread over various platforms (however, that is still an improvement). So many companies harvest your data, it's incredibly difficult to get 100% privacy. And even then, you'll be so spread out that it's extremely difficult to manage your privacy on the various platforms you're using. That gets me to my second reason... Second, Google does a better job than any other company of being transparent and giving you ways to control how they're using your data. After being away from them now and trying various other services, I have a better appreciation for that aspect of their services. I could almost make the argument that you might be better off within their services *because* they give you more control... but that might be stretching things a bit. :)
  • I don't think it's a stretch at all... There's absolutely something to be said about transparency and control. Like you, I'm yet to find other tech services that offer both at the level that Google does.
  • I completely agree. Google tells you exactly what they do with your data, and lets you have control. Others not so much. The more info they have the better and more tailored to you it gets. Online privacy is a myth. Anyone who believes otherwise has their head in the sand.
  • Personally I find Google Photos and Google Maps very useful and have yet to read about Alphabet (Google's parent company) mishandling personal data they've been provided and store from those two services nor any others. The failure of Google Plus to even break into the top 20 of social networks based on active users can now be seen as a blessing in disguise for Alphabet, too. https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked...
  • I'm guessing the headline is a rhetorical question, eh. At any rate, like others posting here, it is the Faustian bargain I entered into when I agreed to use their services. I do what I can to minimize my profile but it is a deal with the Google Diablos that we have to live with.
  • I used to think Google was just as bad as Facebook but I've learned that the data they collect on us is to help get more accurate and better search results and better suggestions so I'm happy for Google to have my data. I've nothing to hide. Plus Google is transparent about it unlike the others (Facebook I'm looking at you).
  • Happy? Lol
  • I concur that Google has been a pretty good custodian of the data they have collected...Hate to say it, but it's only a matter of time until Google, an affiliate, or a nefarious actor misuse or leak an important persons data...sorry, but come on it's bound to happen sooner or later. One of the primary reason. BIG DATA gets a pass from Washington is that they cooperate with law enforcement and the feds. Folks would scream if the gov collected the data but fact is the gov can get it almost anytime they want -- through existing legal channels or force if they want it bad enough.
  • It takes a little effort... But you can prevent Google from collecting most of your data. Set up google maps to not record your movement. Delete your search history regularly, or simply do not sign into Chrome.... The list goes on and on. If you are of interest... Five eyes or your national intel service will get all your info. In Canada, CSIS has a standing order to grab your data. We know America records every international phone call. Your monocle service provider is obligated to hand over everything... Every call, every text. Apple saves the last two years of questions you ask Siri, etc... It amazes me how people invite the Google or Amazon personal assistant speakers into their homes. Look, years before Snowden.. A relative in intelligence told me not to text, email, or say anything online that I wouldn't feel comfortable being front page news the following day. Loyalty rewards programs like air miles collect further layers of info about grocery purchases, etc.. No escaping data collection if you chose to enjoy online services. VPNs are a joke, too.... Lol
  • I don't care really!
  • What could google be asking for them to do that they felt they had no choice but to comply or leave the company?