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14 eyebrow-raising things Google knows about you

JR Raphael | Dec. 16, 2016
Some are fascinating, others are frightening -- but here's how to find out what Google has on you.

1. A full history of your voice commands with any Google product -- including actual audio recordings

Google - voice commands
Everything you've ever said to Google, in one convenient place.

OK, Google: Remind me how silly I sound when talking to my phone (you know, when it seems like no one else is listening). If you use voice commands on Android or any other Google product (for instance, voice searches in the Google iOS app when you're logged in with your Google account), head to the "Voice & Audio" section of Google's My Activity site to see and hear a comprehensive list of everything you've ever said to that inanimate object in your pocket.

And yes, your voice really does sound like that.

2. An objective breakdown of your real BFFs (according to Google)

Data doesn't lie. Discover whom among your Google contacts you interact with the most by clicking the "Contacts" header on Google's account dashboard. Just be prepared to make up excuses if your significant other doesn't make the "Frequently contacted" list.

3. How much stuff Chrome has saved about you

Google - Chrome sync
Your browsing habits, broken down into indisputable numbers.

If you use the Chrome browser and typically stay signed into it, check out your account's Chrome Sync settings page to see all sorts of brag- and/or shame-worthy stats about your personal browsing habits -- things like how many bookmarks you've saved, how many tabs you have open across different devices and how many websites you've typed into Chrome's address bar (since last resetting your browser's history).

Free cookie* if you guess within five points of any of your values.

* A free browser cookie, that is. C'mon -- what did you expect?

4. How many Gmail conversations you've had

Provided you use Gmail's archiving system instead of permanently deleting messages, you may be in for a shock: Click the aptly named "Gmail" header in Google's account dashboard, and get ready to see why your days always seem so short.

Case in point: I have 145,810 message threads in my Gmail account -- with just over 28,000 sent messages. Let me repeat that: Twenty-eight thousand sent messages.

No wonder I never get anything accomplished.

5. A full history of everywhere you've ever been

File this one under "Cool Yet Creepy": Google Maps' Timeline feature contains a detailed diary of your every move -- down to the minute.

No exaggeration: If you carry an Android phone and have opted into location history, the site will show you where you were every moment of every day. And if you really want to weird yourself out, open Timeline from a desktop and click the year tab in the upper-left corner of the screen. Select "All Time," then click the red box in the lower-left corner to see an ordered list of your most visited places.

 

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