Should We Trust Google With Our Data?


Google is perhaps the most famous website of all time. The use of this iconic search engine has become so normalized and so enmeshed with mainstream culture that the word ‘Google’ is now a verb people use when talking about searching for anything online.

Google delivers extremely accurate results and can tailor what we see to suit our personal tastes and preferences. It does so through a highly sophisticated analysis process that sees it study vast streams of user data. While it’s possible to delete your personal info from Google search results, many people don’t realize just how much of their data the platform collects. Should we trust Google with our data? Let’s find out.

What Data Does Google Collect?

All online platforms and services collect information about their users. Google is no exception, any time you use a Google service, whether that be the search engine, Gmail, or the Google Chrome web browser, your data is being harvested constantly.

Things like clicks, scrolls, website visits, and searches are all recorded by Google. Data concerning your geographic location will also be gathered, as will shopping behaviors such as browsing products, adding things to your cart, or making purchases.

Why Does Google Collect this Data?

First and foremost, Google collects data so that it can further improve the products and services it provides. For example, if Google notices that a particular Gmail function is being underused and not clicked on, this could be an indication that the function is poorly designed or otherwise unappealing. They could then review this function to see if there is anything that can be done to improve it.

Many of Google’s features rely on data collection. Google Maps is a perfect example. This web mapping service reads user location data to provide real-time map updates to its base of over 154 million users.

Google also uses your data to allow for targeted advertising. With user data, Google can build up accurate and detailed consumer profiles, with information about age, gender, geographic location, and even social and cultural background. When a business comes along and wants to market products to a particular demographic, Google can use these customer profiles to ensure ads are being delivered to the correct users.

Does Google Ever Sell User Data?

With the vast amount of data it collects, it might seem obvious to think that Google sells what it doesn’t use. However, the company’s policy clearly states that it does not sell user data and that it only shares data when it receives express permission from the user or is ordered to by the authorities.


Can we trust Google with our data? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. When we use online services, we’re going to have to get used to the fact that our data is going to be harvested. Some of this will be used to improve digital platforms and products, while others might be sold for a profit at our expense. Google doesn’t sell our data, so we can rest assured that our data will stay with the company, but what they truly use it for is anybody’s guess. 

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