What Does Google Know About You?

Did you realize you can see most of what Google already knows about you from your bookmarks in Chrome and photos to what maps you look at and ALL of your comments on YouTube?

It took a day for my profile to be compiled into a 7.5-gigabyte COMPRESSED file of the data Google has collected about just one of my 6 email/google accounts.

Well, you can easily do the same thing and learn just what Google knows about you, your spouse, your kids, and furthermore, what Google has available to SELL.

– that’s how they make money on their “FREE” services.

All of which is fine if you understand how much they know, all of which someone can obtain just by knowing your Gmail account name and password.


Google makes it very easy to see what is stored on their servers about you (or anyone whose email and password you know) and not only is it nice to see just what they know and see what you might try to delete (if you can) but it also makes a great backup so mine went right to my dedicated NAS 5G USB hard drive.

The first step is to sign onto any google account, usually, your Gmail is a good place to start, or open Google’s free Chrome browser (BTW, you might want to be VERY careful what you look at using Chrome – just clearing your home computer’s files doesn’t erase your browsing history or bookmarks from Google’s servers.

Next go to the oddly named Takeout section, specifically http://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout

You will see a screen-long list of all Google services from apps to photos and you can select one, two, or, by default, all of them. I recommend ALL, which, as I pointed out, is the default anyway.

Then follow the directions which I won’t detail – they are very simple and easy to understand, but they might change somewhat over time and it’s best to just look at the pages as they come up.

You will probably be prompted to select a file format – as I mentioned, mine was 7+ gigabytes and that was in a zip file so be prepared and don’t have it sent to Drive or anyplace where you might get charged for storage until you see how large it becomes.

Play it safe and have it zipped so you can download it when you choose.

Knowing what to expect after years of intensive Google use I chose the 50G maximum file size. Some operating systems can’t handle large zip files and if yours is one you may need to generate a dozen or more archives, one for each Google service.

I suggest you pick the 50G file and see what happens. On most recent Windows releases you will only have to double click on the zipped file to open it up but save the original to an off-site backup – remember this is a great way to save your history as well as learn what is known about you and anyone who you care about and have permission to research.

When the data is collected from the servers – which can take a long time in computer terms – mine took hours – Google will email you a notice that your archives are ready along with a link.

Be prepared to be shocked, you may have hundreds of gigabytes of files to sort through once you unZIP the files.