On Privacy, Google and Trackers While Surfing the Web

After the freaky February 29, 2012 deadline, the behemoth Google start churning in data gathered from online user’s activity across its different sites 24 hours non-stop. Previous to that, users received or read notifications about the change in its privacy practices. Onward, user’s activity will get a destination bucket for sake keeping. And the bucket has unlimited size.

When signed in on your Google account, all information about your activities on Gmail, YouTube, Search, Maps, and more, will now go into one tray, allowing Google to “serve” you better and advertise to you most effectively. Perhaps, in the near future, that information will be used or harvested for other purpose(s).

But if you hate the thought that Google is sucking a fuller picture of your activities across its properties, you have two choices to make: To use Google or not at all.

Users can visit Google sites and products like Search and Maps without having to sign in. Or create multiple accounts for particular activity while in Google territory. Thereby, surfing information will land in different buckets. Such a hazzle.

Trackers or cookies saved by sites visited on user's computer.

And still with privacy on our line of thought, users of Mozilla Firefox browser can download the add-on “Collusion.” It is a neat, low graphic tool for viewing how we are being “spied” upon while surfing.

Twenty four hours after installation, Collusion quietly went into work. The bubbles represent trackers saved on my computer with each site I visited. One site not only saves one “bubble” but multiple, depending on the category or page I visited.

These trackers are tools of sites which collect data about the user’s surfing behaviour and preferences. One or many of these information are being collected: Length of stay on each page visited, how many people are reading each article on the site, how far down the article people are reading, gather analytics to analyze the social profiles of users, customize the third party advertisements displayed on various sites, build profiles of consumers (age, gender, interests, etc.). Etc.

Advertisers are able to better target you with ads and sell to or exchange the info with other advertisers and marketers. Tracker’s mission is only limited by the imagination and needs of the particular site, company or advertiser. The only sure thing we can deduct here.


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