Accessing Google’s Stash of User Data

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Accessing Google’s Stash of User Data

I imagine Google’s stash of user data as that one scene from The Hobbit, where Smaug the Dragon is sitting on top of piles upon piles of treasure. Valuable items compiled over the years through legal and illegal means? Check. Protective of all the items? Triple check.

Unlike Bilbo Baggins, we don’t know what’s stored in Google’s data trove; all we know is that it exists. However, what if I told you that there is, in fact, a way to find what information Google has stored; that they’ve taken from you over the years?

You may call me crazy, but I’m anything but. Well, in regard to my claim, anyways. Google does indeed offer a way for you to view and download all the data the company has compiled about you over the years, and it’s easy to do.

Finding the Promised Land

The process is simple if not a bit time-consuming. All that’s required on your end is to visit this link (you must be logged in to your Google account) and go through the 2-step process:

  • Select the type of information you want to be reported
  • Configure settings for the archive folder (the folder containing your data).

Once you go through these two steps, Google will start preparing the archive but do take note that this will take a while, and when I say a while, I’m talking hours, even days depending on the archive size.

However, this archive will be compiled without your intervention, so you can distract yourself with work or whatever while Google readies the report.

Observing the Report

It’s time. After hours of anticipation, you can finally open the archive and view your data. Be warned, you may be terrified of all the data that Google has on you.

You may say that you already know what Google has on you and you’re more excited than terrified. I get it. But I don’t think anyone truly understands the mountain of data Google keeps, and climbing that mountain for the first time can give you a mean case of vertigo.

For example, Google records every instance of you talking to Google Assistant. It’s so bad that they’ve halted the practice due to recent controversy over the practice.

The tech monolith also stores data such as locations you’ve visited through Google, bookmarked sites, your search/website history and so much more. Again, it’s a mountain of data you’re volunteering to climb.

social network

The Importance of Transparency

While Google is guilty of invading user privacy and, in general, not respecting the rights of the user, their transparency about what they’re storing is admirable. Makes you wonder why every company doesn’t do something like this? Even Facebook does it! Facebook!

Sit back and think of the amazing capabilities social media brings to the table. Communication from anywhere, a soapbox for anyone and everyone and a platform that encourages community. Isn’t it convenient it’s all free?

It’s not, it’s just instead of asking you for currency, they’ll ask for your data. If you don’t recall being asked for your data, think back to the Privacy Policy you agreed to without reading a sentence of.

And that’s the game websites play today! No one reads the privacy policy because why would you? It would take a non-insignificant amount of time to read through it all, and that’s only to sign up.  Companies know you won’t read it, and this has come into legal question through the years.

It would be kind of other websites to offer a report on the data they’ve collected of us. It’s the least they could do for us, you know, since our willingness to hand over data kind of keeps them afloat.

What I find worrying is the lack of education around data. Specifically, the collection of data. I had a friend in my cybersecurity classes who thought a VPN trial was all he needed to protect all your data from being stored by Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. We quickly corrected him.

Until more citizens realize the value of their data, companies will get away with recording all our data, and no transparency can make up for that.

Stacey Chillemi

editor@thecompleteherbalguide.com

I am on a mission to transform the health of millions worldwide. Check out my website at staceychillemi.com. I am a popular and recognizable health and lifestyle reporter and expert, columnist and health host. Author of The Complete Guide to Natural Healing and Natural Remedies for Common Conditions, along with 20 other published books. I am the founder of The Complete Herbal Guide and a recognized health and natural remedies expert, with over 20 years in practice as a Health Coach. I write for the Huffington Post, Huff Post, Thrive Global and Medium (Owned by Arianna Huffington). I have been a guest on the Dr. Oz Show, local news, and numerous radio shows. My focus is on natural healing, herbal remedies, alternative methods, self-motivation, food for medicine, nutrition, fitness, natural beauty remedies and the power of positive thinking.

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