Most Google services include options which can be utilized to limit the amount of information gathered, but it annoys me no end that data collection is enabled throughout by default and users actually need to opt-out. Obviously Google is working on the premise that most users tend to leave options/settings at default and the vast majority would not elect to allow more data collection than the absolute minimum – I cannot disagree.
If you are a prolific Google user here are some of the services and methods for minimizing data collection:
Advertising: Non-personally identifiable information is shared between Google services and its ad networks by default. You can opt-out of ad personalization at the Google Ads preferences page. NOTE: Personally identifiable information will not be shared with Google ad networks unless you actually choose to opt-in.
Web History: By default Google tracks search terms and items you click on when using Google services. You can opt-out on the Web History Page.
Search Personalization: Google customizes search results based on what you click and search for. This takes place regardless of whether you are signed into a Google account or not. In order to prevent this you will need to “Turn off search history personalization“.
Google Chat: Google maintains records of your conversations by default. To prevent this you need to go “Off the record” and your chat sessions will subsequently no longer be logged.
Streetview: Google has heeded user requests and will blur pictures which help identify you, your family members, your home or your vehicle. Simply locate the offending image on Google Streetview and click “Report a Problem”.