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A new study from Vanderbilt University gives a look at the just how much data Google is harvesting from its users.
Researchers examined how the search giant collects information from Android mobile devices, Chrome browsers, YouTube and Photos, among other Google products.
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But the most surprising revelation gleaned from the study is likely to be that Google continues to collect data even when users are browsing in incognito mode.
Google collects data in 'active' ways, such as when users sign into an application, as well as 'passive' ways that users are less likely to be aware of.
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In this scenario, an application is designed to gather information on users when it's running, sometimes without the user's knowledge.
'The extent and magnitude of Google's passive data collection has largely been overlooked by past studies on this topic,' according to the study, which was published Tuesday.
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Most people assume that their browsing history is hidden from Google when they use incognito mode.
However, the study explains that Google can still link the data from incognito browsers to a specific user.
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That's because if a user logs into a Google account while a private browser is open, cookies left behind on the incognito window can identify them.
If they close out of the incognito window before logging into a Google account, then the data will be erased.
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'While such data is collected with user-anonymous identifiers, Google has the ability to connect this collected information with a user's personal credentials stored in their Google Account,' the...
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