User data is what Google feeds on.  Google uses tools which are created for the express purpose of gathering as much information on the everyday consumer as possible. The most insidious of these technologies is the Google Tracking Cookie.

The Google Tracking Cookie is a line of code the search engine uses to identify your browser. Unlike most cookies which were linked to the browser via the computer you were using, Google’s tracking cookie assigned each user a cloud-based Google ID. This ID travels with you online, regardless of whether you’re on your mobile device, work computer, or home computer.  The cookie follows you as you search the web and feeds information which is filed under your specific Google ID. It pulls from Google’s wide array of information-gathering services.

The cookie logs

  • IP address
  • Geographic location
  • Search terms
  • Time and date stamps
  • Vistied Web Sites
  • Browser configurations
  • Gmail information (including the contents of your emails)
  • Photos
  • Google+ (Social Content)

Google has been known to slip up in matters of privacy this is cause for concern.  If you are like me and do not like Google tracking you every move there is a program out there for Firefox call GoogleSharing.

GoogleSharing is a system that mixes the requests of many different users together, such that Google is not capable of telling what is coming from whom.

The GoogleSharing system consists of a custom proxy and a Firefox Addon. The proxy works by generating a pool of GoogleSharing “identities,” each of which contains a cookie issued by Google and an arbitrary User-Agent for one of several popular browsers. The Firefox Addon watches for requests to Google services from your browser, and when enabled will transparently redirect all of them (except for things like Gmail or Google+) to a GoogleSharing proxy. There your request is stripped of all identifying information and replaced with the information from a GoogleSharing identity.  It’s important to remember only your Google traffic is redirected everything else from your browser goes directly to its destination.  The result is that you can transparently use Google services without Google watching you.

It’s a great little product put out by Abine, Inc. The online privacy company.