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11 fascinating proofs of how insanely much Google knows about you

It’s no secret that the IT giants try to save as much information about you, your mobile lifestyle and your browsing habits as possible. Google is one of the most diligent, and you who use the company’s gadgets and services are mapped down to the smallest detail. For example, did you know that Google saves your voice searches and knows where you were at this time last Thursday?

Also read: This is how much Facebook thinks it knows about you

We list the reading below as both terrifying and fascinating. And actually quite useful for those of you who want to keep a better eye on your mobile and internet behaviour. You can access most of the functions either via Google’s account overview or the My Activity activity log.

Also read: You are so owned by the internet giants – and that’s why it’s a problem

1. Full history of your voice searches with Google products – including audio recordings


OK, Google: Remind me how stupid I sound when I’m talking on my phone (you know, when it doesn’t seem like anyone’s listening). If you use voice commands in Android or on any other Google product (for example, voice searches in Google’s IOS app when you are logged in to a Google account), a recording will be made. You can relive your voice searches yourself by filtering the results on voice and sound in Google’s My Activity site.

2. An objective compilation of your besties (according to Google)


Data doesn’t lie! Check out which Google contacts you correspond with the most by clicking on Contacts in the overview of your Google account.

3. How much Chrome has saved about you


If you use the Chrome browser and do not have the habit of logging out of your personal Google account during the browsing sessions, a lot of information is saved. Check your account’s Chrome Sync settings page for a complete breakdown of your browsing habits—how many bookmarks you’ve saved, how many tabs are open on different devices, and how many sites you’ve typed into Chrome’s address bar.

4. How many Gmail conversations you had


Assuming you use Gmail’s archiving system and don’t usually delete old messages, this may come as something of a shock. Just click on the title Gmail in the account overview and horrified by the slightly bizarre amount of conversations you had in Google’s email program.

5. Full knowledge of your whereabouts

At home, the subway, the company. The golden triangle in the life of a 28-year-old technology journalist.

Now it’s almost getting a little cheesy for real. Google Maps’ timeline feature includes a detailed journal that notes the smallest steps you’ve taken. In order to take part in the information, it is required that you have location history activated on your device. It gets even scarier when you log into the timeline via the computer from the same Google account that is linked to your phone. By selecting “all the time” in the time specification on the left, you get a list of the places you visited the most.

6. Everything you’ve done on your phone


Your smartphone is a great tool for productivity-enhancing things like word processing, spreadsheets, and… Uh, who are we kidding? You use the handset for brain dead web surfing and pointless games just like everyone else. But if you want, you can actually check what you’re wasting phone time on, or what happened on the phone while you let someone else fiddle with it. Again, it’s enough to go to Google’s My Activity and filter the display list on “Android”.

7. All the sites you’ve ever visited in Chrome – from all synced devices


Chrome is not just a desktop browser, and if you also use the program from a phone or tablet, you can be sure that a massive browsing history is saved. Find out when you surfed (as logged in) by opening My Activity and ticking Chrome in the list. There are several powerful filter functions to refine your search if you are looking for something in particular. Pages you visit in Chrome’s incognito mode are not listed.

8. The exact number of searches you made in the last month

Google is actually a search engine – but how much do you use it? You can find that out by scrolling down to the search history in the Google account overview. For example, I have made 380 searches in the last 28 days. 12 percent are image searches and a paltry three percent are location searches in Maps.

9. History of how many Android devices you have connected to your personal account

Stay in the Google account overview and click on the header Android to find out how many Android products have been linked to your personal Google Account over the years. Here you can also find out things like Imei numbers, manufacturers and when the devices were first activated.

10. Running counter of how many Android apps you have installed


Trying out new apps is a great way to expand your tech horizons and keep your phone fun. Of course, Google keeps track of how many apps you have installed! You can also find this information a little further down in the account overview.

11. How many photos you store and your monthly average for viewed Youtube videos

There’s a lot more than this to find out about your Google behavior in your company’s account overview page. Among other things, you can see how many YouTube videos you watched in the last 28 days, what you searched for in the video service and a compilation of the feedback you left. Finally, you can also look under the Photos section to find out how many photos you currently store in Google Photos – and how much space they take up together.

Translation, images and processing: Billy Ekblom

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