Googling Security:How Much Google Knows About You.

by Humza on January 22, 2009

In the recent past I was much inspired from a book I was reading over the internet. The book was about “HOW MUCH GOOGLE KNOWS ABOUT YOU”. In this eye opening book Author Greg Conti explores the security risks of Google and other search engines like Yahoo , Msn, AOL , Ask and many other small search engines.


Title: Googling Security:How Much Does Google  Know About You

Author: Greg Conti

Pages: 360

ISBN-10: 0-321-51866-7

Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional

The problem is that when organizations and individuals upload their private data. They often give short shrift to security and privacy of their data. These organizational bodies make innumerable amount of use of Google free services and then they end up with their personal information being compromised or shared in ways they do not approve.

The author was absolutely right in a number of ways. I mean how many people among us read the terms and agreements before accepting them while installing some free software or using some free website. My guess is less than 60% and that is where the problem starts. When u accept Google terms and services you give them complete authority to store your personal information.
The tagline of the book is the observation that Google’s business model is based upon ”To provide its services for free”. From the individual user’s perspective, this is a model that they can live with. But the inherent risk is that the services really are not completely free; they come at the cost of the loss of control of one’s personal information that they share with Google. The book lists over 50 Google services and applications which collect personal information. From mail, alerts, blogging, news, desktop, images, maps, groups, video and more. In chapter 5, the book lists over 20 stated uses and advantages of Google Groups, and the possible information disclosure risks of each.

So the main thing to remember is:
“Google keeps every search you or I ever make in their database”.


They have my e-mail address, my calendar, my documents, my spreadsheets, my bookmarks, my address (Google maps), pictures of my house (Google streetview), my list of friends (Orkut, Facebook), my blog (Blogger), my pictures (Picasa), my videos (Youtube), my website (Googlepages), my mailing lists (Google groups), my sales history (Google checkout), my local files (Google desktop), my medical records (Google Health), my Cell number (Google SMS), my chat history (Google talk), my RSS feeds list (Google news reader), my open source project collaboration (Google code), my notes (Google notebook) ………and the list goes on…….
As to the underlying question, “how much does Google know about you?”, the answer is that it is a colossal amount, far more than most people realize. For anyone who uses the Internet, Googling Security should be on their list of required reading. The risks that Google and other search engines present are of great consequence and can’t be overlooked. If not, privacy could slowly be a thing of the past.

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