Google collects data from Android smartphones, even when the devices are stationary and inactive. Similarly, Chrome browser data is collected even in incognito mode. This is revealed in a study published by Professor Douglas Schmidt of Vanderbilt University.
As you probably know, Google derives a lot of its revenue from the data collected from the billions of users of its various applications, operating system, and devices. This data is then provided to advertisers to enable them to develop targeted campaigns. In the last quarter, 85% of Alphabet’s revenue (Google’s parent company) came from advertising.
However, according to a study published by Professor Douglas Schmidt of Vanderbilt University, Google can collect this data even if consumers avoid its apps and Android devices. Even more surprising, if Android users turn off Wi-Fi on their devices, the geographic position is still tracked and passed on to Google.
In doing this 55-page study of Google’s data collection practices, Douglas Schmidt discovered that about two-thirds of the data collected by Google are collected in the background when the user is not notified that his or her data is being collected and shared.
Indeed, even if the Android user does not use any Google application, the American giant is still able to collect a lot of information through the tools it provides to advertisers and content publishers.
Google collects data from Chrome users even in incognito mode.
Thus, when an Android smartphone remains stationary and inactive for 24 hours, it sends another 900 samples of data to Google. More than a third of these samples contain geolocation data. Similarly, Google continues to collect data from users of its Chrome web browser even in incognito mode (private browsing).
This study demonstrates the power of Google on the web through its applications and advertising tools. Today, it has become almost impossible to have a relationship with Google for a user.
Also, the researchers discovered that the secret identification codes used to communicate specific types of data to Google include potentially identifiable personal information such as the Gmail ID or the serial number of the device used. This data could be used to link different types of data (such as browsing history) to users.
Note that using an iPhone instead of an Android smartphone reduces the amount of data that Google can collect. On average, a stationary and inactive iPhone sends 50 times fewer data to Google than an Android device. In addition, no geolocation information was collected by Google during the 24-hour test period. iPhone also shares ten times less data with Apple than Android smartphones with Google.