Here's How Google Tracks You (And What You Can Do About It)

Tyler Durden's picture

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?

It’s because you are – and, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins details, for a rough proxy of this, use the browser extension Ghostery to see how many tracking scripts are watching you on a typical media site. (It doesn’t work for everything, but a large media site like has 50+ trackers, with 40 of them focused on advertising).

Capturing this user data helps sites sell their inventory to advertisers, but a select few companies operate in this capacity at a whole different level. Google and Facebook are the best of examples of this, as nearly $0.60 of every dollar spent on digital advertising goes to them. They both have the sophistication and ubiquity to capture incredible amounts of information about you.


Today’s infographic, which comes to us from Mylio, focuses in on Google in particular.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

The search giant is massive in size, and there is a good chance you tap into Googleverse in some way:

  • Global market penetration for Android is 61-81%.

  • Google has a 78.8% market share for online search.

  • The company generates $67.4 billion in annual ad revenue.

  • Google processes two trillion searches annually.

  • 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics to for tracking.

  • There are 700,000 apps available in the Google Play store.

  • 82% of videos watched online come from YouTube.

  • In total, Google has at least 79 products and services.

According to Google’s documentation, it uses these services to pull out information on the “things you do”, “things you create”, and the things that make you unique.


All in all, Google tracks your activity history, location history, audio history, and device history. It also builds a profile for you for serving ads – age, gender, location, income, and other demographic data.

You can view and actually download this history by using a tool called Google Takeout.

Many people understand that their data helps support advertising revenues on websites they enjoy. Others are rightly concerned about their privacy, and how their information is used. Regardless of which category you fit in, becoming informed about how privacy on the internet works will help you craft an experience that best fits your preferences.

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J Pancreas's picture

Lumia 950 ftw bitchezz

Ragnor789's picture

Simple solutions to defeat corporate surveillance:

1) Log out of everything (google, youtube, Facebook, etc.) and stay logged out.

2) Utilize a VPN to be anonymous online and mask your location and IP address:

3) Delete your social media accounts - or at least delete the apps from your devices and stay logged out as much as possible.

4) Consider TOR (but be aware of the downsides).

Jack McGriff's picture

5) install a sript blocker on your browser.

6) Install Adblock on your browserr

7) Install umatrix on your browser


You're welcome. 

Dr. Spin's picture

Neither is Noscript, butt try getting me to take it off...


freedogger's picture

I've been on the internet since the mid eighties. I can't remember one time that I've clicked on an add and bought something. Can't remember one add that I've seen this week. Talk about a bubble! Online advertising for all its sophistication is terribly useless if the end goal is getting me to buy shit.

Tarzan's picture

In addition to adblock and noscript, I use blur, https everywhere, and self destructing cookies.

Now watch, as some wonk who wants to track traffic will tell you self destructing cookies is just taking it too far.

Web site owners hate the self destructing cookies plugin....

Kayman's picture

" I can't remember one time that I've clicked on an ad and bought something."

More than that, I make a point of Never Buying stuff that pops up.

Advertisers paying Google and Facebook are suckers.

hxc's picture

It is DEFINITELY a bubble, and I can't wait to see all the "marketing" hipster idiots lose their shirts.

BennyBoy's picture


Adblock lets its "approved" ads be unblocked. Unmatrix is tedious but works well.

I use uBlock Origins, Adguard and Stealth Mode.

On the ZH "Reply to comment" page uBlock Origins blocks 32, Adguard blocks 34 and Stealth Mode blocks 32.

On the ZH Home page uBlock Origins blocks 172, Adguard blocks 32 and Stealth Mode blocks 30.

That's blocking 160 ads, trackers, adware, malware and crap I'm blocking from my computer. Fuck them. Pay me if you want me to see your crap.


Ghostery sucks.

unicorn's picture

a really good collection of advices:

ps windows user please do a quick search on this site for
"Don't use Windows 10 - It's a privacy nightmare"

cnsteph's picture

Hrm.  39 trackers blocked on this page alone for ZH by Privacy Badger. 

FiatFapper's picture

AdBlock sold out to corps and allow ads, so use the forked version called 'uBlock Origin'; it speaks volumes that Google Chrome browser has an AdBlock add-on but NOT uBlock, so only use Opera or Firefox for browsing with DuckDuckGo.

Firefox also has ways to block tracking in their config settings.


hxc's picture

Chrome is a board-book pile of shit full of holes anyway. Whenever I see someone using it, I look at them like one might pity a retard or small child in over his/her head

07564111's picture

Any one who thinks that pressing 'delete' on any joogle page will actually delete anything is a fucking fool.

Taint Boil's picture

If you're not paying for it you're not the customer - you are the product.

BarkingCat's picture

In many cases even if you are paying for it, you are still the product.

Manipuflation's picture

I am an asshole.  Every knows that.  I don't care because I already has what I needed ten years ago.

What I do hate is cell phones.  After all of these years, I have never downloaded an app.  Seems like these days they just download themselves.  I barely use a cell phone.  I hate text so that is out.  I am 42 yo and I don't like smart phones largely because they annoy me.  

I really would not miss a "smart phone" at all.  I am too old I guess.  I often forget the phone itself.  No facebook or twitter for me.  I just don't play that game.

There is a lot more to life than a phone.  I like travel and where I sometimes go there is no signal.

I do not carry a cell phone often.  Why?


Kina's picture

Well  I downloaded a copy of my Archive from google.

And fuck me...they have all my contacts from my phone ALL my photos and videos!! How the fuck did they get them off of my phone??? EVEN ones I took this morning, there they were uploaded to my google profile...and I thougt I had turned all that shit off.


So even if you turn your data and phone connection off, google will still get your stuff the next time you log back into your phone.

  • HOWEVER all the stuff I have secured encrypted under Gallery Lock app - dont appear in my archive.

Makes the case for a seperate camera and old fashioned pencil and paper phone book.

GreatUncle's picture

Part of keyscore when you log into a device when you first get it it starts tracking and collecting with no way to turn it off.

Had an issue with the windows phone and ended up finding it is all stored on the net so it is hidden in the Microsoft terms and conditions I guess. All connected devices become registered and then tracked.

I really don't think most of the snowflakes realise this.


BabaLooey's picture


I'm doing the archive now.

I concur.

I have started snail mailing people, and using an offline/not plugged into anything laptop for printing the documents I create on it.

I plan to keep this segregated laptop AWAY from any internet connection.

IMO - it all becomes un-managable for the data collectors when there are literally millions of people out there.

BUT - I never under-estimate them. Shit - they just got this posting - so they know this as well.....

...or do they?

Nevertheless - fuck 'em.

One World Mafia's picture

They can hack into a tea kettle if it's wifi ready...happened to the Russian gov but they found it.  All that is needed is for you to have a wifi connection they can hack and you can be spied on by any wifi capable device you own. Google and Facebook want to bring wifi to every corner of the earth.  I had to go online to see the manual for my two y.o. GE dishwasher and discovered it's wifi capable.  Still trying to figure out why I would need it.

BabaLooey's picture

Thanks for that.

I'm going back to a IBM Selectric


cursive........and throw away the burn it...

chiquita's picture

my two y.o. GE dishwasher and discovered it's wifi capable.  Still trying to figure out why I would need it.


Why you ask?  So the Russians can hack into it and monitor whether you're rinsing your dishes first or not and later use that to blackmail you if you run for office...

new game's picture

try smoke signals too. where there is fire there is dc. the 20th, smoke signals. hey worked for the indians...

Cruel Joke's picture

Smoke signals are more like broadcasting, not? And the bandwidth is very limited ...

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Depends on the color of the smoke...Black Smoke Matters.

Vageling's picture

You must have logged in to some google account then. Shit I don't even log in (ever). I download apk's elsewhere. Nothing they can link it to. Also there is another setting in Android this article missed. It creates an unique ID for your device and extracts data. It's hidden somewhere in the settings menu. 

Fuck I even have taped off the camera's. 

Snowden really was a wake up call to me. 

Cruel Joke's picture

When/if Linux for smartphone gets rolling I will be on that wagon. So far it is not 'there yet', developement seems to have slowed down.

On PCs a modified 'hosts' file is my solution. This file covers all network traffic and you can use the same hosts file on MS windows, linux and mac OS. It is a bit more geeky than adblockers but I like the way it works.

If you have trouble upvoting/downvoting here on ZH (firefox was not working for me) - take a look at the newish Vivaldi browser. In just a few months it has become my favorite browser. Developed by many of the same people that made the old Opera browser (version 12 and earlier). It's fast, even snappy and 95% look and feel of the old Opera (my previous favorite) and menu/tabs doesn't occupy too much of your screen. Availible for both windows and linux.

Grandad Grumps's picture

Clearly Google is evil.

Ragnor789's picture

Exactly! They are the definition of corporate surveillance. And now that these firms have teamed up with governments (NSA, GCHQ) we are living in 1984.

Mimir's picture

Not necessarily, but surely it can be used for evil things without us knowing. A threat to democracy and civil liberties.

hxc's picture

Nope, it's evil. 30% of alphabet's startup capital came from the see eye ayy, if I remember correctly.

Grandad Grumps's picture

Yeah, I'd have to watch the connections made with my firewall software. The number made when running Java is massive, while the number made without Java can typically be counted on one hand.

Java is a problem, not a solution.

BrightBlueSkies's picture


I use on FireFox and it seems to be very effective in stopping the trackers.

What surprised me was the sheer number of trackers!

spiral galaxy's picture

.....which means the government has this data also.

Mimir's picture

Whether the President is Obama or Trump.

Dirtnapper's picture

And people wonder why Bilderbergs always include Google executives in their membership.

Singelguy's picture

Who do you think funded Google's start up?

buzzardsluck's picture

So only 17% of vids viewed are porn?  Seems low?

How long until the tylers ask for a whitelisting of this site?

Zero-Hegemon's picture

"So only 17% of vids viewed are porn?  Seems low?"

Undersampling error

Colonel Klink's picture

This page has 11 trackers on ZH, even using duckduckgo.

MPJones's picture

Poorly written post cotaining no solutions. In case your are interested in protecting your privacy look into programs like Advanced Cookie-Manager, Self-Destruct Cookies and of course the newest Adblock Plus.

meatworm's picture

and of course the browser addon 'No google analytics'.