6 Things That Google Knows about You

Have you ever visited a shopping site followed by a news site and found that most of the ads you see are from that shopping site? That did not happen by accident. Google has been tracking your activities and using the data it collects to make money.

Google has one of the largest collections of consumer data on the planet. Besides capturing the information that users freely give when they sign up for a Google account, Google tracks its users' web activity so it can display ads that better match their interests. Even users without Google accounts have their web activity tracked, though Google is unable to connect it to a specific person.

Google uses the data it collects to develop profiles about its users. Many people do not realize just how shockingly detailed these profiles can be.

If you are a Google user, here are six things that Google knows about you:

1. Your Account Details

Google knows your name, phone number, and all the other information you provided when you signed up for a Google account.

2. Your Usage of Google's Tools

Google provides users with many tools, including a word processor, web browser, and contact list. The tech giant keeps track of how you use these tools. This means that it knows how many documents you have in Google Docs, how many bookmarks you have in Chrome and what they are, and how many people you have in your contact list.

3. Your Gmail Inbox Contents

If you have a Gmail account, Google knows how many messages are in your inbox. It also scans your messages for keywords. It uses this information to tailor the ads and search results it shows you.

4. Your Searches

Besides tracking your web browsing activity, Google keeps tabs on your web search history. This is one of the main ways in which it develops an advertising profile about you. By knowing what you are searching for, Google can determine what types of products and services you are likely to buy.

5. The Videos You Watch

Google owns YouTube, so it is able to track your activity on that site as well. The information about your YouTube activity is used for advertising purposes.

6. Your Location

It is likely that Google knows where you live. It might even know where you are located right this minute. If you have used Google Maps to get directions from your home to somewhere, Google knows where you live based on that information and your IP address. If you have an Android phone and have not disabled the Google Location History feature, Google knows where you are located right this minute. Location tracking lets the company offer you geographically specific results when you search for something.

Check Your Profiles

There are several ways you can find out the types of information that Google is collecting about you:

  • You can review your Google account profile by going to the My Account web page. There you can see what personal information you gave Google when you signed up. Plus, if you click the Account History option, you can see if Google is tracking your location, web search history, YouTube search history, or browser activity.
  • Google has developed a dashboard designed to increase transparency about the data it collects about you. The Google Dashboard summarizes the data collected for each Google tool that you use.
  • Google's advertising profiles include guesses about its users' ages, genders, and interests. You can see your advertising profile on the Control Your Google Ads web page and find out just how right (or wrong) the tech giant is about you. You can also use this website to stop Google from tracking your web activity by opting out of its interest-based advertising program.
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Can Your Car Really Get Hacked?

car hackingWhen you're driving down the highway, there's nothing scarier than losing control of your vehicle. Hackers may soon make that situation a lot more common. However, instead of this happening because of something in the road, you could lose control because of something in your car's onboard computer.

A Case of Car Hacking

Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek proved just how possible this scenario could be when they literally took over a vehicle while it was driving down a highway outside of St. Louis, Missouri. The researchers were demonstrating the existence of a severe vulnerability in the onboard computer of their Jeep Cherokee.

The flaw in the vehicle's computer allowed Miller and Valasek to wirelessly send commands to the steering, transmission, and braking systems as well as more minor things like the air conditioning unit and the radio. It also let them track the vehicle's speed, route, and location, which added a surveillance aspect to the hack.

In a July 2015 article by Wired writer Andy Greenberg, the two experts explained that the hack would work on any Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, or Jeep vehicle with a built-in Uconnect computer system that was manufactured in late 2013, all of 2014, or early 2015. By their estimate, this equaled as many as 471,000 vulnerable vehicles.

The hack works by accessing these vehicles via their connection to the Sprint cellular network. With only his laptop and a cheap burner phone, Miller was able to home in on possible targets that were located in places across the US. The lack of any real range limitation highlights the massive scope of this hacking technique.

Miller and Valasek contacted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles months before they unveiled the flaw, and the company released a patch for the security hole in July 2015. However, the patch was not sent out wirelessly and can only be deployed at a dealership or through the use of a USB drive. To ensure that vehicles receive the patch, the multinational corporation issued a recall of approximately 1.4 million cars. Fiat Chrysler customers should visit Chrysler's DriveConnect update page to see if their vehicles were recalled.

Breaking into Cars' Computers

This was not the first time that Miller and Valasek had broken into a vehicle's computer system. In 2013, they successfully hacked a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius. At the time, critics were quick to claim that the cybersecurity experts were only able to accomplish this feat by creating a wired connection to the vehicles' onboard computers.

In response to that criticism, Miller and Valasek said that wireless attacks were already a reality, and pointed to research done in 2010 by a group of academics at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego. The researchers were able to wirelessly infiltrate the same systems that Miller and Valasek targeted in their 2013 efforts. In Valasek's words, the point of their endeavor wasn't to show that a hacker could get inside a car's system, but rather that they could "do a lot of crazy things once [they were] inside."

Nevertheless, the criticism sparked their desire to hack a car wirelessly. Before settling on the Jeep Cherokee as their target, the two experts investigated and rated the cybersecurity measures of 24 vehicles. While the Jeep was determined to be the weakest, other popular brands like the Cadillac Escalade and the Infiniti Q50 were also considered to be remarkably vulnerable to digital threats.

Efforts to Stop Car Hacking

At the moment, there are very few things that people can do to protect their cars from cyberattacks, aside from updating their Fiat Chrysler vehicles with the necessary patches. The lack of options on an individual level doesn't mean that the issue is going unaddressed, since there has been a notable governmental effort in this area. Legislators and national authorities around the world have begun researching ways in which they can mandate better cybersecurity practices in the automotive industry. Standards on the subject aim to govern how car manufacturers defend vehicles from cyberattacks and protect customers' personal information, such as the location records gathered by their GPS-equipped vehicles.

The world's automobile market is rapidly filling up with vehicles that feature more and more digital functionalities. There are even some cars that are entirely computer-controlled, as is the case with driverless vehicles currently being developed by companies like Google, Mercedes-Benz, and General Motors. The increasing use of onboard computers emphasizes the need to improve cybersecurity parameters in vehicles. If this need isn't met, society could soon find itself facing a new generation of hackers capable of taking over cars from thousands of miles away.

Ease Technologies provides innovative cloud solutions for businesses.  Are you interested to know if your business is a good cloud candidate?  Take this test.  

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Managing your iPhone Storage Settings

iphone storage settings

Have you ever encountered that annoying message on your iOS device letting you know that you're running out of storage space? It doesn’t take long for photos, videos, music, messages and other content to fill up your storage. Don't worry though - you're not alone. 

Let’s go over a few ways to regain some space being taking up by items on your iPhone or iPad that you no longer need. 

To get started you will need to:
• Launch Settings found on your Home screen
• Select General
• Select Usage
• Select Manage Storage
Give it a moment to load the usage stats. 

It will then sort the apps, placing those using the most storage on top. These top offenders are typically media-supporting apps like Videos, Photos, Messages, Podcasts, Audible, Music and even some games. 

If you have gigabytes (GB) of data being used it is a good time to cull some of the items in these apps that you may not really need. You will not want to delete the app, but rather the files, images or data that are taking up the storage space. There isn’t a standard way of removing items for each app, but let’s go over some of the more common methods.


Videos can take up a lot of space and deleting items is an easy way to regain GBs of storage. These can include purchased or rented movies and TV shows. While in the app, you can tap the edit button in the upper right corner and see which videos can be deleted with a X in the corner of the movie. Often a simple left swipe can remove an item as well.


Photos and camera images are smaller than movies, but equally as important to remove when you are running out of space. You may have years of images that you have captured and likely have some room to cut out some less than important or redundant images. This can be a tedious process, but just going through the duplicates and undesirable images is a good start. In the camera roll tap select in the upper right corner of the window. Tap on the photographs or movies you want to remove and then tap the trash can icon. Confirm with the Delete Photo option at the bottom of the screen.


You may find that your messages take up a lot of storage, especially if there are many images being shared. To keep this more tightly managed, iOS can automatically remove older messages in you settings. Go to Settings > Messages and then under Keep Messages set it to 30 days or 1 year. You can also set video and audio messages to expire after two minutes. Additionally, you can delete older threads individually by opening the Messages app and then swiping left on a thread and tapping Delete.

For other bloated apps the same house-cleaning concept applies of identifying the items that are no longer needed within the app and going through each one and removing them.

Finally, review all the apps on your device and determine if they’re still needed. If it’s been a while, it might be a good time to remove Candy Crush Saga or other apps that no longer get as much of your time as they used to.

The iPhone and takes advantage of many cloud based features. Are you interested to know if your business is a good cloud candidate?  Take this test

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5 Microsoft Office 2016 Details to Look Forward To

Microsoft Office 2016

Microsoft Office 2016, the latest Windows-based version of the major technology company's application suite, is scheduled for a release sometime in the fall of 2015. However, we already know quite a bit about the product, thanks to a preview and testing program that Microsoft has been running.

Here are 5 details to look forward to, ahead of the product's mainstream release:

1. Better Security

Microsoft Office 2016 will emphasize the value of better security parameters. In addition to a file-level encryption functionality, new data loss protection tools inside of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint will warn users when they attempt to save confidential files to unsafe locations. Microsoft Outlook will also be more secure, thanks to a multi-factor authentication feature.

Similarly, the application suite will have stronger information rights management tools that let you limit what people can do with your documents or emails after you've shared access with them. For example, you can allow access to a certain document to expire after a set period of time, and prevent it from being forwarded. These tools will also stop people from copying and pasting information out of Microsoft Office 2016 applications.

2. Business Intelligence Features

Microsoft Excel lives up to its name in Microsoft Office 2016. The latest version of this application features a built-in business intelligence tool called Power Query. This tool can dramatically change the way that you approach your data.

Using it, you can quickly combine your own numbers with figures from public databases like and Microsoft Azure Marketplace. After doing this, the application has another tool that lets you create detailed visualizations of the combined data.

The data analysis tool Power Pivot got an upgrade and will now be capable of analyzing millions of rows of data. The application will also be able to automatically find trends within your data and extrapolate them out into charts and tables.

3. The Tell Me Tool

The Tell Me feature makes Microsoft Office 2016 even easier to use. If you are ever lost or confused while working with a particular application, you can use this feature — found in the title bar of each program — to search for help. Just tell the application what you are looking for and it will offer a few options for you.

4. The Ability to Search with Smart Lookup

The Smart Lookup feature allows you to search the Internet for something without leaving your application. After highlighting a word and then selecting Smart Lookup, a panel will open up on the side of the screen with Bing search results for the highlighted word. The application will also scan the document so that it can provide the right information for the word based on the context.

5. Tools for Collaborating with Colleagues

Microsoft Office 2016 will expand on the real-time co-authoring capabilities of Microsoft Office Online. The additions will make it easier to collaborate with colleagues remotely. Microsoft has already added the co-authoring feature to Microsoft Word, and experts expect that other applications will soon have it as well.

The tech giant has also added features that let you create and manage groups from within Microsoft Outlook. Thanks to these features, you can monitor activity within your groups, read through the groups' conversation logs, and keep track of files and notes stored in OneDrive.

Microsoft has also improved the way that attachments work in Microsoft Outlook by adding a sleeker drop-down menu filled with recent opened files. After choosing a file, the application will ask you if you want to share a link to the file stored through Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive, or Microsoft OneDrive for Business.

Microsoft Office 2016 takes advantage of more cloud based features. Are you interested to know if your business is a good cloud candidate?  Take this test.  

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iOS for Business August Webinar

Are you really getting the most out of your iPhone and iPad?

The iOS for Business online webinar will help you improve your productivity when using your iPhone and iPad at work. We will be covering the latest business apps like Outlook for iOS. We'll review important settings for improving battery life, storage space, iCloud and managing your notifications. 

You don't want to miss this free educational online webinar to increase your productivity and help keep yourself more secure while on the road. 

• Important productivity apps
• Mobile security tips
• Widgets and Notifications
• Storage Settings 
• Your questions and answers

Date: Wednesday, August 26 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Where: Online Webinar

Dave Kile Presenters:
Dave Kile - Senior Vice President, Ease Technologies, Inc.
Matt Schmidt - Vice President, Ease Technologies, Inc.

Register Today!

Do you just want to learn how to quickly manage items in your iPhone's Control Center?  Check out our 6:00 minute video here.

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