Is Google Listening?

Over the recent years, more and more people are brought to attention about their privacy regarding their cellular devices. People are realizing that there could be a possibility that companies may be listening to us more than we are aware of.

Have you ever noticed while you’re having a conversation with someone, and for example, you both are discussing your interests over shoes? You mention you want a pair of white Converse, and then suddenly… 5 minutes later, those EXACT white pair of Converse you were mentioning appears on your timeline.

Source: Apple

In an article from February last year by CBS News, Sam Nguyen claims she gets the idea her phone is listening to her, and she is certain she gets ads from Facebook and Google for things she only mentions aloud.

“I didn’t write that in my email. I didn’t check it out online yet. It’s just popping up. That’s kinda weird,” Nguyen said.

(CBS News, 2018)

Well some say it might be considered a coincidence, whereas others believe it’s no coincidence at all.

It’s becoming more common for people to have ads pop up on their social media timelines such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for items they have not once searched for.  Some experts agree with the possibility, but others say that companies already know too much about you… so are they really listening?

I am not sure what is creepier, the idea that someone is always listening, or the idea that that Google and Facebook probably know me better than I know myself, and I do not know which one I would prefer. Companies are able to track data relating you based off your GPS, your searches, the pictures you upload, the items you deleted, the videos you have watched, and more.

Did you know?

Google takes your information that you provide such as: your location, sex, age, interests, occupation, relationship status, if seeking weight loss, and income and they generate an advertisement profile that personalizes all the ads you see online and on social media.

Click on these links to view your data!

Google knows where you’ve been

Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted

Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google knows all the apps you use

Google has all of your YouTube history

If you’d like more information on all the information Google has on you, this article by Dylan Curran from last year is super useful:

So, are companies really listening? Or do they just know you better than yourself. The internet can be a pretty scary and crazy place and in today’s day in age it is extremely difficult to not be tracked or have any privacy anymore. That is why it is so important to maintain your privacy and be extra careful, what you click, and what you give permission to online, the items you share and the things you say.

To conclude here is a video experiment produced by one of the Buzzfeed producers, Chris:

“Ever wonder if someone is listening through the microphone in your phone? Chris conducted an experiment to see if his iPhone would listen to him, and target an advertisement at him.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xltl6_0hyU

Source: Buzzfeed

In reality, there would not be enough time or money in order to have people listen and go through every conversation being made while a phone is present.

Facebook:

Is Google Listening? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2YAmBqs

Twitter:

Is Google Listening? #google #socialmedia #phones #IsGoogleListening https://bit.ly/2TQQofV

References:

COM0014 – Blog #1: Frankie Says Relax?

I’ll admit it! I’m a bit of a control freak and I have trouble relaxing, but when it comes to vacations I am content to be hands-off and that’s because over the years my husband has proven to be a vacation planning master. He has an amazing ability to find absolutely fantastic locations that meet all our criteria at an economical price..did I mention he’s handsome too!

Our most recent vacation was to the Dominican Republic and admittedly this was not a destination that I was overly excited about, but when I saw the hotel and the amenities I was sold. We stayed at the Royal Catalonia Bavaro, a resort that exceeded our expectations. I should mention that our expectations are fairly minimal:

  1. No kids (my apologies to anyone who takes offence to this)
  2. Great food
  3. A quiet place where we can recharge our batteries and to get away from work

Punta Cana Boat Trip

Anchors away

On top of being a master vacation planner and handsome, my husband is also very gracious in that he lets me chose our expedition. This year I decided that we needed to swim with sharks and stingrays! This sounds a lot more daring than it is as the sharks are nursing sharks, i.e. no teeth and the stingrays do not have stingers, but nonetheless it was amazing.

Nursing Sharks

Very menacing!

Outside of expeditions, when I have nothing but time on my hands, I absolutely love to devour as many books as I can and while I was completely captivated by my latest novel I missed a new vacation trend. People were one their phone, iPads and laptops by the pool and ocean! It is nothing new to see people listening to music and reading books using their mobile devices but on day two I started to notice a lot of laptops by the pool/ocean. Then I started to pay closer attention. Resort guests were having video conferences and there was a lot of business talk going on. I brought this up to my husband and he said it just didn’t feel right – and I agreed.

Now that we are always connected it is harder to get away. It started to make me feel anxious that my fellow “vacationers” were working around me. I started thinking about work and the inevitable emails filing my inbox and that relaxing feeling started to evaporate in the tropical sun. I think that it’s very important, nay crucial that we unplug from time to time and your vacation is one of those times.

Vacation resorts are always offering more, more amenities, more options, more creature comforts. Have our expectations in fact ruined paradise? Are you guilty of checking in on the office while your mind and body are screaming for a break?

Resources for those who can’t unplug:

Reminder: You Don’t Need to Work on Vacation 

Work Hard, Play Hard: How to Unplug on Vacation