How Google Tracks Your Personal Information?
If you’ve ever wondered how it is that Google is able to give searchers the results they were looking for, it all began back in the early 2000’s when people allowed Google to have their data in exchange for Google products and the possibility of seeing more relevant ads. The whole idea is to provide marketers with data that can be exploited. And by the way, if you were ever curious about whether applications can listen to your conversations or see things through your camera, there really wouldn’t be any need because the data that Google gets would tell so much more about you and your habits. It’s really not that hard. With that said, there really isn’t any reason for some company to hijack your camera or microphone.
This is due in part to your search habits; I.E. the things you do with your Google accounts, whether that be Google Play or Google Email, and this also includes searching using the Google search engine for whatever it is your after. And Google gets a LOT of searches. There are about 40,000 search queries on Googles search engine every second. That comes out to around 3.5 billion searches per day, which equals around 1.2 trillion searches per year.
Every time you search for something using their search engine, your query travels to a data center where an army of up to 1000 computers work together to retrieve the best results based on your query and deliver them back to you. It takes just one-fifth of a second to get those results back to you, but you probably already understood this knowing that it doesn’t take too long to get back search engine results.
Google has several methods for you to see what data it collects :
You might be able to figure out what you were doing 3 years ago on this exact date, including what video you watched on Youtube and what searches you did.
However, what most searchers don’t realize is that there is even a faster and more mysterious process that is happening.
User Profile & Google Ad Systems
As many of you know, when you search something you are entering in keywords, and those keywords are fought over by advertisers, because they are likely offering a product or service that are related to your keywords and they want their ad to be seen and clicked on by you. These are generally the first four search results at the top before having to scroll down. You might recall that before this, Google had some ad boxes on the right of their screen. Those were done away with and instead now you simply see top links which are paid ads. Actually, if you didn’t know this, then you’re not alone, and unless you did, you wouldn’t know those top search results from paid to organic except there being a little tiny box under the link that says ad. Now you can probably see why Google got rid of the ad boxes on the right hand side that people generally wouldn’t click on. Once you click on one of these ads, your information is passed right to search engine marketers where its stored forever in an AdWords account which is never erased.
What is a user profile ?
And if your curiosity goes even further than what you’ve already read, there is a huge checklist of everything that Google knows about you. In fact, it would be much simpler to tell you what Googles DOESN’T know about you than what they do. The thing is that, there really isn’t much to add to this list since everything you do online builds what is called a ‘citizen profile’ on every person who uses Google search or any Google products. Everything from your age, income, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, relationship status, your location, the device you are using, your long and short term browsing status, the products you buy, and even the contents of your email and how close you are to a cell tower is known. Talk about Big Brother.
But things are probably about to get even more interesting. In 2019 there will be what some people have called the Holy Grail of search engine marketing: multi-device attribution. When this technology is realized, as will follow searchers seamlessly across all channels and all devices meaning; social, organic, email, and from mobile to laptop, and laptop to television, etc.
Imagine watching a football game, and an ad comes on for Nike shoes. Your television will emit a super high frequency undetectable by human ears, but can be picked up by a nearby smartphone. So, picking up your smartphone, you suddenly see an ad for Nike shoes the first place with ads you visit.
The thing is that internet marketers know so much about you, and if you’re a daily commuter, they show you ads that people on buses and trains would be interested in buying like some cool new headphones or a nice backpack to carry your stuff in. By the way, if you were curious how marketers could possibly know if you are a daily commuter or not, keep in mind that the smartphone you carry pings passing cell towers. If you are passing the towers uninterrupted at a fast speed, then you are most likely on a train. Stopping once in a while and then moving? Bus or a car. But that’s not all, search for some product on your phone and then physically walk into some department store and chances are good that Google used your phones GPS data to connect your ad click to your in-store purchase. And if you have ever searched for anything non-product related, such as some health problem such as high blood pressure, be ready to see ads based on fixing this problem across all your devices. Google is getting smarter all the time.
Today, 3 out of 4 smartphone owners use Google first above anything else to find what they are looking for or buy some product. You are then presented with a whole bunch of ads or results. These ads speak to what you seek, play on the emotions that are unlike you, and fit your age, income, gender, location, and browsing history, not to mention all the other things that were previously mentioned.
But something changed a while back that helped Google get the most relevant search engine results to you. Google might actually sound like the bad guys, the ones who are snooping in everyone’s business to find out what you like and what new toy or service you are looking to buy.
How Raters Improve the Google Algorithm?
Google is simply a business trying to provide the best service they possibly can. It’s their business model: Provide the best and most relevant results to anything you might be looking for or whatever may solve a certain problem you are having. Their idea is you involve as many people as possible by providing an excellent search experience and related online services as well, such as YouTube and other internet giants.
And unknown to a lot of people, this whole gathering and fine-tuning of information isn’t completely automated….
This is where the Google search engine rater comes in. Google hires company’s like Lionbridge, Leapforce, Appen, etc. to help them sort through all the search results and give feedback on the websites that meet or match the needs of a search engine query. Sometimes we don’t always find what we are looking for in the first search. But search engine raters sift through the stuff that isn’t so good, and give good marks to the websites that are actually providing the stuff you need. In fact, most rating projects focus on content improvement of these two business streams of Google which are the Search Engine evaluation projects to improve search system, and the ads rating projects to improve ads targeting. Search engine raters are the ones who actually improve the results. Sure you can game the system as an internet marketer and use a bunch of black-hat techniques to improve your chances of being at the top of search results, but when a search engine rater gets a website up for review, that website better fit the Google guidelines.
Google is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. They are always changing their algorithms, and doing their best to weed out the bad from the good. However, the search engine rater’s job is very important in giving Google the feedback it needs. There are two major Google rating projects: Yukon/Internet Assessor/Inca which forcus on Search Engine Improvement and Ads Rating/Arrow/Aztec which forcus on improving Google ads system.
It would be very interesting to see Google stop using these virtual assistants one day, but the chances of it happening are fairly slim. Search engine raters have done a fantastic job of helping fine-tune the search engine giant over the years, and look to continue doing so.