If you’re like most people, you search the web a lot. Google handles more than 40,000 searches per second, or 3.5 billion per day, or more than 1 trillion searches every year. Your share of that may be small: if you’re just an average person, you may search the web 3-5 times a day, but some of us, such as writers, may perform several dozen searches in a single day when researching articles and books.
Searching the web is free. But nothing is really free. In exchange for providing you with such a powerful tool, Google collects data about you. It creates a unique profile of you, of your interests, your medical conditions (because everyone searches Google when they have health questions), and your browsing activity, and uses this to provide carefully targeted ads. It also tracks the websites you visit, ensuring not to miss anything you do.
This is why you often see ads related to your web searches. For example, you may have a question about your pet, and use Google to find the answer. You’ll end up seeing ads for pet food on various web pages. Google is the biggest advertising provider on the web, and millions of websites use Google Ads. So by storing information about you on Google’s servers, the company can know which ads are most likely to interest you. (Of course they don’t know if that search about the cat was really for a friend or neighbor, in which case the ads are incorrectly targeted.)
In other words, using a search engine is the same as giving away lots of private information about you, your habits, and your life. You may not want to do that.
Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.