Google’s just become far more open about the data it collects on its visitors – which, by April of this year, was used as the search engine of choice by 89.4 percent of global Internet users. With the launch of its new widget,My Activity, it is providing people with a comprehensive history of almost every single action, website and behavior they engage in online via its services.
Whether you use YouTube, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or any such browser or search tool via Google, you’ll be able to find a trace of your online paper trail within this virtual individualistic bibliography, all of which can be deleted at will.
Google collects this information for a range of reasons, but the most obvious is to provide tailored advertisements to you as you surf the web. Far from just displaying adverts tailored to individual users on Google sites, this software also sends adverts targeted towards specific users to third-party sites served by Google. According to the Guardian, there are over 2 million of these sites hidden across the Internet.
My Activity allows you to choose whether or not you want to be subjected to this type of targeted advertising mechanism. Importantly, unlike most other online companies, this service has to be opted in to, not opted out of. If you do not manually choose to activate this behavioral information system, you will not get targeted ads.