If you let it, Google happily tracks your every online move

Google's latest project, Web History, offers registered Google Account users a chance to keep track of not just their account history, but their surfing history. The data is available only when the user logs on with a Google account and password, the same account used for all other Google services. In order to track web surfing information, the user must have the Google Toolbar installed in their web browser, and have PageRank enabled. The Web History feature, which can be turned off and on, replaces the earlier "Search History" feature, which only allowed users to look at previous web search queries and results. The new tool tracks everything, allowing users to re-visit sites, downloads, search results and so on, along with displaying usage trends and showing which sites were most visited at certain times of the day. There's even a history of which Google AdSense ads the user has clicked on.

The data collected is only used to "improve your search experience" and Google promises that this data will not be made available to third parties except in aggregate form or to comply with legal processes, as per their existing privacy policy. Nevertheless, the information is all being compiled to one place: a Google account that can potentially be compromised.

Link: Google Web History
News source: Ars Technica

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They still keep a record of whatever you search, even if you have it disabled. Go to the search history site and see your search calendar. Some of the days will be green. Some dark green. This indicates the number of searches you have made on those days. If you had the search history on, you could see the search phrases too.

Although this doesn't tell us whether they are keeping the search phrases stored somewhere or not, but they're still recording something to show you that information.

Hey guys who said Microsoft monitors u.. Just run Ethreal,Microsoft Network Monitor r any other packet sniffer and u can see the packets going out of ur machine.. But I bet google does monitor.. Long Live Microsoft

why use Google Web history when you can use IE Web history and FF web history and any other history feature on all the other browsers?

Why is everyone getting so weirded out by this? It's not like google's doing it without your knowledge, it's a service they're offering and if you don't like it, well then don't use it!
I have no personal use for it, but I'm not brandishing my tinfoil hat either.
Seriously what are you all so afraid of them finding out anyway?

Though I agree with them not doing it without your knowledge, perhaps what people are so afraid of is the idea.

The idea of somebody tracking your every move, or actually offering a service to do just that, is sort of eerie. It's like having somebody in real life watch you all the time, except here it's kept on a database, and anyone with the right amount of skills can stalk you without your knowledge.

And, you don't have to be doing something terribly wrong for this to worry you either, so people can stop coming to that conclusion already.

Eis said,
Though I agree with them not doing it without your knowledge, perhaps what people are so afraid of is the idea.

The idea of somebody tracking your every move, or actually offering a service to do just that, is sort of eerie. It's like having somebody in real life watch you all the time, except here it's kept on a database, and anyone with the right amount of skills can stalk you without your knowledge.

And, you don't have to be doing something terribly wrong for this to worry you either, so people can stop coming to that conclusion already.

How is this new though? Everyone can be tracked if need be.

I personally have no problem with this, if google want to help me by centrallising my sufing history accross the 4 pc's i use on a day to day basis I happy with it!

I don't know why people find this to be a big deal. So someone breaks into my Google account and sees that I've been researching mole crickets and that I've been surfing Neowin. So what?

Well - up to people if they use it. However:

Nevertheless, the information is all being compiled to one place: a Google account that can potentially be compromised.

...than can equally apply to using your own home PC. Your own home PC can also potentially be compromised, too. Whether by hacking if you're connected to the internet, or by being carried out of the house by the good old fashioned burglar. (For today's kids: They're people who come into your home and actually *take* stuff. They're kind of like hackers but they're *real*. Real is what happens when you're not playing Second Life.)

Let's face it, we're not safe whatever, but you can also take steps to protect your data, whether it's online, or on your PC.

Dear god people, can't you realise that this is a FEATURE? not a spy? The radicals in this country seem to think that anything that tries to profile you is "spyware" and/or "evil". It's time that people realised that google is just doing there job and that yes, in fact, they are "happily tracking your every online move" in order to provide you with contextual search results and advertisements for things you would actually enjoy? This DOES Improve your search experience. Whether you want to admit it or not.

Wow...this has been a Google feature for awhile now (a year at least). It is just now a news story?

Anyway, the feature really doesn't bother me as I have nothing to hide. If I'm really up to something shady then i know I need to logoff of Google before doing any searches.

The feature has actually come in handy more than once for finding old sites that I searched for.

eAi said,
You didn't read the article. This thing has been a feature for 3 or 4 days (yes Neowin is slow)...

Umm I don't know about the article. But I know for a fact that I've been using this Google feature for about a year now. I remember being prompted by Google when I logged into my Gmail account if I wanted google to save my search history a long time ago.

The Web History feature, which can be turned off and on, replaces the earlier "Search History" feature, which only allowed users to look at previous web search queries and results. The new tool tracks everything, allowing users to re-visit sites, downloads, search results and so on, along with displaying usage trends and showing which sites were most visited at certain times of the day.

That clearer for you?

Slimy said,

So help out and submit news.
I could, but I'd rather consume than produce news Just like when I report a bug in an Open Source piece of software, I'd rather not be told to fix it myself!

I'm not really complaining, don't take it personally.

I really don't care if someone knows I've looked for sites that have jessica alba or gpu overclocking guides........ but that being said... I know i'm on the internet.. and it's open wether ppl like it or not.... however on my comp... it's locked down so much noone is getting in or out unless I say so (yes.. I know thats imposabble.. but I try dammit!)

Maybe if it didn't use the toolbar, I'd use it. Sometimes I'd like to see what websites I've visited, because it's hard to refind some of them. I don't really care if they know where I visit, because it'd be quite boring if anyone else were to ever search it ... heck, might would even help get out of things rather than into them. :P

Are you guys serious? I love Google history and I hate searching rigorously for keywords not in the web address. I think this is a brilliant idea of Google's. It's really handy for some quick researching or trying to remember that girl's name.

msing said,
... or trying to remember that girl's name.

If you can't remember her name, then you probably don't deserve her.

I wonder why many people use toolbar... It shows how smart they are for doing that. This news serve as an example why I would never use ANY kind of toolbars.. cept for WebDev toolbar... cos it has nothing to do with ads and it does not download or track any crap.

i have no idea why people have toolbars (or download those rubbish smiley things for msn) i went to fix someone computer a while ago and almost 100 toolbars and viruses (well not 100 but u know)

No doubt about that. I'm one of the biggest tool bar haters you will ever find. They are nothing but a sneaky way for who ever's tool bar you have installed to monitor every move you make. Not to mention all the stuff they have included in them now a days that have to automatically update (and I HATE anything that auto updates even more!)

I'd ALMOST rather install AOHELL on someone's computer than ANY tool bar!!

I anonymize as much as i can that has to do with google that goes beyond what you could normally expect from the providing of any service.

google monitor everything you do on their site, microsoft monitor everything you do on your computer

if google sold your info to 3rd party "spammers" then they would be in so so so much trouble with everyone around the world

The new tool tracks everything, allowing users to re-visit sites, downloads, search results and so on, along with displaying usage trends and showing which sites were most visited at certain times of the day
Google will track every site you visit. Not just stuff on *.google.com.

I don't trust Google any more than I do Microsoft. They are both in business to make money.

not trying to be an ass man but, just a word of advice bro:
when you decide to bold out and emphasise on a word, make sure it's spelled correctly.

back on topic, this isn't of any surprise to me. google is buying out the whole internet now-a-days it seems.
if not already, everything we do will be secretly monitored. a-la-echelon. :shrug:

305 said,
not trying to be an ass man but, just a word of advice bro:
when you decide to bold out and emphasise on a word, make sure it's spelled correctly.

LOL their site is actually the correct way to spell it........and not there site.

305 said,
not trying to be an ass man but, just a word of advice bro:
when you decide to bold out and emphasise on a word, make sure it's spelled correctly.

back on topic, this isn't of any surprise to me. google is buying out the whole internet now-a-days it seems.
if not already, everything we do will be secretly monitored. a-la-echelon. :shrug:

1.) Here's some advice for you now:

Use your post as a reminder of why you shouldn't make yourself out to be a know-it-all on the internet.

2.) Then go back to school and learn how to use these words:

There

Their

They're

3.) Just stop acting as if you're not trying to be an ass when that was actually your intent the entire time.

305 said,
not trying to be an ass man but, just a word of advice bro:
when you decide to bold out and emphasise on a word, make sure it's spelled correctly.

back on topic, this isn't of any surprise to me. google is buying out the whole internet now-a-days it seems.
if not already, everything we do will be secretly monitored. a-la-echelon. :shrug:

a big at you

305 said,
not trying to be an ass man but, just a word of advice bro:
when you decide to bold out and emphasise on a word, make sure it's spelled correctly.

Not trying, but succeeding nevertheless :D

You vegetable...

NightmarE D said,

1.) Here's some advice for you now:

Use your post as a reminder of why you shouldn't make yourself out to be a know-it-all on the internet.

2.) Then go back to school and learn how to use these words:

There

Their

They're

3.) Just stop acting as if you're not trying to be an ass when that was actually your intent the entire time.

I'm nowhere near a know-it-all. I do however know how to use there/their/they're and your/you're and so forth...
You get mad at your teachers/proffesors back in school when they corrected you? Call them 'know-it-alls'? Stop being so damn ignorant. On second thought, just remain a fool.

305 said,

I'm nowhere near a know-it-all. I do however know how to use there/their/they're and your/you're and so forth...
You get mad at your teachers/proffesors back in school when they corrected you? Call them 'know-it-alls'? Stop being so damn ignorant. On second thought, just remain a fool.


Psst, 305 dude, it's professors

305 said,
I'm nowhere near a know-it-all. I do however know how to use there/their/they're and your/you're and so forth...
You get mad at your teachers/proffesors back in school when they corrected you? Call them 'know-it-alls'? Stop being so damn ignorant. On second thought, just remain a fool.

Do you? Here's the deal, genius: you're WRONG.

The word "their" is the correct word when referring to possession. It's Google's site; it is THEIR site as it belongs to them. Not "there". That makes no sense. It also isn't "they are" or "they're" either. Go back to school, bud. While you're at it, get off the internet, unplug your computer, and don't come back until you've either mastered the English language or learned some manners.

Thank you.

Dakkaroth said,

Do you? Here's the deal, genius: you're WRONG.

The word "their" is the correct word when referring to possession. It's Google's site; it is THEIR site as it belongs to them. Not "there". That makes no sense. It also isn't "they are" or "they're" either. Go back to school, bud. While you're at it, get off the internet, unplug your computer, and don't come back until you've either mastered the English language or learned some manners.

Thank you.

I'm pretty sure the OP edited his/her post.

Hitchhiker427 said,
I'm pretty sure the OP edited his/her post.
It was edited/corrected. But these guys are Drama-Queens, and felt it would be much more fun on their boring sundays to type what comes out of their asses.

For whomever it was that corrected my mistake on the spelling of 'professors'. Thanks, unlike most of these guys, i can take a heads-up and willing to learn and correct my mistakes.

Should i continue the cycle of ignorance by calling you a 'know-it-all' ? I don't think so.

This is the main reason why I avoid anything Google, it's the relentless data mining for whatever reason they claim and what can be done with all that data.

RudyJ said,
This is the main reason why I avoid anything Google, it's the relentless data mining for whatever reason they claim and what can be done with all that data.

Google gets people's info from Gmail and those other services that it owns. If they ever get access to your real name or other identifiable personal data through one of these services they can easily link it your IP and then your searches. After that, unless you get rid of all Google tracking cookies and don't sign into your compromised account, Google will have your every move tracked through its search and through Google Analytics and other Google services.

I don't know why corporations are so intent on tracking people and installing craplets in their PCs, but it's obviously something they're interested in.

The Customize Google Firefox extension deletes Google's tracking cookie, if you want to get rid of it. Also block Google Analytics and any other tracking services of this type, no matter who it's from. Unless ofcourse you don't care about being tracked.

http://www.customizegoogle.com/

Naturally, it's off for me. It's not that I'm scared of Google distributing the information behind my back (as some people are), but rather someone hacking into Google servers and taking it by force, or perhaps a mishap and all my info is published. Things like this happen.

I just hit the History button on Firefox or IE, whatever I happen to be using.