In an odd twist around 2004 Google cooked up a scheme. Not only to take more share of the internet as service provider, and increase the Intelligence behind their premier products Google.com the search site, AdSense, & AdWords. But, they also were going to mine, collect, connect, and horde individual internet user behavior data. This scheme starts with the release of Google's Gmail service in 2004 and continued with the development and release of Google Analytics in 2005. But wait, it doesn't end there; subsequently they released the Chrome Browser in September of 2007. What these all have in common is your data, being stored by Google and available for their use, to "Better" their existing Search, AdSense, & AdWords offerings.
What do they do with our data?
What is done exactly, is up for debate. They do use our data for "Analytical" purposes, and in many cases it is anonymous. But we do know full well; our personal identifiable information is being logged by google services. They might argue that is isn't, I would like to ask a single question which should at the very least put some doubt in your mind, concerning what Google says. If they don't log personal information, how on earth can they tie all of the traffic logs, email, even DNS queries (from their free DNS service) of an individual named in a subpoena?
I am sure that google only uses our information directly to be able to make more money. Probably no identifiable information either, just tied to a unique number, not readily associated to an individual's name, address, phone, ssn, or the like. This could be to offer personalized search predictions or recommendations. Maybe to serve you ads you are more likely to be interested in. And possibly to detect what sites are possibly generating SPAM. Some of these are really awesome technical challenges. This makes it no less scary or potentially dangerous to citizens of many countries, now or in the future.
All the ways you get Owned by Google
Here is a little list of the services I think Google can and does utilize to collect data about you and me.
- DNS - It isn't a huge leap to guess that Google is using lookups from their free DNS service, to infer website popularity
- Gmail - Eversince Gmail first released, we knew that they were reading our emails, to place more relevant Ads to you while you are reading email, or browsing the web.
- GTalk/Hangouts/Duo? - Here are the many attempts at a chat system that Google has and is making. I 100% believe that they are processing and analyzing the topics talked about while using these systems.
- Chrome Browser - Chrome is distinctly a different browser than Chromium. Sure they are "Based" on the same code, but there is some extra stuff in Chrome, which Chromium doesn't have. I think one of these is sending logs to Google. Most likely containing page history and browsing behavior data.
- Android - What do we even do about this one? While Android is open source, there is a now BLOB that exists in most Android distributions, of which we do not get full sourcecode. LineageOS and some others successfully remove this from their distros.