Google Knows

by anil on March 17, 2007

Now everyone is known to the world through an Email ID. Or if you know an Email address, you can trace down the person who owns it. That became magnificently possible with the social networking revolution on the Internet. But there is a limit to the extend of information you can dig out this way; to the extend the owner of the Email ID decides to expose about himself. We cannot go further down but Google does.

Roughly, one in every two people who searches the Internet uses Google and Google handles more than 200 million searches every day.

When you run a search in Google for the first time in your browser, Google will set a Cookie with a unique ID in your browser. There after, Google knows that all the searches you are running are coming from “you” and presumably they keep record of them all.

So, based on the searches you run on Google, they can build a “picture” about you–what you want, what you do, what’s bothering you, your interests, hobbies, and probably what are you planning to do this weekend. May be, after God (“Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” –Hebrews 4:13), Google knows you best. Now closest friend of man is not his wife or even a human being any more; it is Google (or Internet search engines in general). People share the most private thoughts with Google.

This is harmless till they link that “picture” with the real you. That happened with the introduction of Gmail. You might have noticed that even if you type gmail.com, you login to mail.google.com. The moment you successfully log in, they can associate the above-mentioned Cookie with your Email ID.

An Email ID in Gmail is not like yet another ID in Hotmail or Yahoo. Each Email ID has the “genealogy” information attached to it. Each Gmail ID is created out of an invite sent out by an existing Gmail ID. So it is almost impossible to disguise yourself before Google. Besides knowing who you are, Google also knows whom you are related to. For example Google knows that you are Ram, husband of Meena and friend of John.

Google even knows what you do out side Google to a certain extent. For example when you sign up for a new third-party service (with your Gmail ID), Google knows that you did so. They even keep track of the links you click in Emails and chat texts.

They are the best in the world for text parsing and analysing. And if we closely examine we can see that that makes the core of all their technologies. Google can even analyse your chat live. So think twice next time you chat with your friend on Google to discuss a new business idea or when you use Google Documents to type a new business plan. The point is that Google is a privacy bomb which can blow up any time either though a security breach or by the data mining bureaucrats of Washington.

Google, after handling trillions of queries from around the world by now, might have an interesting picture about the people in this world, I’m sure. Nobody has ever got a chance to see the world at such a macro level yet.

7 comments

A nice read. Anil, you have kept the promise to present a good blog entry soon. keep the good work on.

but along with all these evils, isnt google doing a wonderful job in providing users with one stop solution to almost all online needs? also, we don’t have much other than to trust them till someone raises evidence of google(or any other such facility) playing fraud on him. just my thoughts…

my gmail tab is blinking. let me check… :)

by Raja on March 20, 2007 at 1:37 pm. #

Thanks for the comment, Raja.

I am not saying that Google is doing anything evil; it’s up to the users to decide. It’s up to the user whether he is ready to compromise privacy concerns for the sake of convenience. But it’s definitely a potential privacy bomb.

US administration is trying to get a law passed (read this: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060119-060352). Google resisted this move successfully though.

I do agree that Google redefined the way people use the Internet and even computers. They are doing a great job. But if a privacy breach happens (and, if it doesn’t get noticed by the external world, to make the situation even worse), whatever convenience/facilities they provide are not enough to justify that.

by anil on March 20, 2007 at 3:56 pm. #

Hmm..food for thought here! Yes .Google seems to invade our personal space ! :-)

by BT on March 26, 2007 at 3:13 pm. #

Master Plan – About the power of Google

http://youtube.com/watch?v=9zKXCQpUnMg

by Anil on March 30, 2007 at 6:36 pm. #

yeah I knew about this form quiet some time, but never knew how to over come that! how to protect our privacy? any thoughts?

by jsr on April 18, 2007 at 11:23 pm. #

Here is a funny pic that appeared in NY Times and it perfectly justifies this post:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2005/10/10/opinion/1010opart.html

by raja on April 20, 2007 at 5:04 pm. #

[…] anil.org.in Blog Archive Google Knows Quotes from the article… Quote: […]

by A Mahan Mahatma called Larry Page & His Google!! - Team-BHP on April 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm. #

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