We all know Google is an American company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware manufacturer. The company is good at what it does — which has given them a monopoly in the ecosystem it finds itself, crippling many competitors.
This brings me to the question of why Google never bills anyone at the end of the month for using its services? I mean, think about it, they can make millions of dollars through that, but they’re not interested — It’s because they want you to get comfortable with their particular brand of productivity apps, like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Search, Play Store, and the like, at home, and in the office in other to keep you stuck in their ecosystem.
The big question is why will a multibillion-dollar company keep billions of people in an ecosystem and not charge them for services rendered? It’s worth it for Google to give out these freebies without making money from them?
How Google uses your data and information
For Google, the reason is it makes money from advertisements on Google Search and its other products [Chromebok computers, Google Pixel smartphones, Google WiFi, and other gadget sales]. Google has been the market leader in online advertising for well over a decade and is expected to command nearly a 29% share of digital ad spending globally in 2021. In 2020, Google’s revenue, which amounted to a total of 181.69 billion U.S. Dollars.
The company has so many ways of enticing people to subscribe to their service. For example, Google in 2004, offered each of its Gmail account holders, two megabytes of space for emails — which was very attractive to millions of people embracing the new form of communication.
Then came the introduction of new products, including Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Photos, and more — all at no fee. Google’s services look like a generous gesture meant to enable communication and boost business. Nonetheless, the real crown jewel of Google is data collection [our data]. It collects an inordinate amount of data from each of its services and sells them for billions of money.
How Google collects data from you
Data collection is a huge way to make billions of money from people who use a particular platform. If you recall, six months ago Facebook questioned Apple’s privacy change in the iOS 14 claiming it’ll affect its user’s personal ad experience. This confirms that these tech giants depend so much on data collection to make millions.
Whenever you search a keyword to search for information online using Google search engine or Google assistant, it collects the information by tracking every search you make on its website. When you click a link, it stores it in Google server. It does this for billions of people who decidedly use its services free of charge.
Google Gmail is a treasure trove of information that constantly tells the company your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. For every person who types an email for business or social, Google curates their contacts. When you exchange emails with a friend, note that Google is the third person in that exchange. Its systems scan and keep keywords and key phrases of your communication.
For every contact you save on Google Contacts, Google can trace them and “know”- what they do, their purchasing habits, who they interact with, and where they live and work. So how is that possible? Well, in 2012, Google merged its data from across its products and services, making it possible for it to pull a thread between one’s search patterns, to their Gmail and places they logged via GPS.
Using Google Photos [Geo tag], Google can create a holistic view of your life and that of your contacts. Companies pay top dollar to get a piece of this data to help them understand people’s interests, values, and buying behavior.
They then provide products and services to suit them through Google’s algorithm. It gives you a platform — an email, a Google Drive, GPS, and a search engine so that it can reap a trail of data that you leave behind as you use the services.
It is important to note that, Google is by no means alone in this. Hundreds of other social media firms live off your personal information. So, when Google does not send you a bill, it’s not because it’s charitable.
It’s because you feed it with a steady diet of your information and make billions of dollars from it. Google hasn’t historically charged for its services because of the revenue brought in through ads that result from selling our data to other businesses that serve us with what they call “personalized ads”.