Your device may *beep* sending more *beep* data to Google *beep* than you have *beep*
Tired of companies tracking your activity across apps and showing you targeted ads moments after you watch something? You’re far from alone, and growing user dismay has forced companies like Google to implement measures like the Play Store’s Data Security section (even if it’s just a simple placebo fueling the illusion that we control Google’s data collection). Bert Hubert, the developer behind PowerDNS, wants to help paint an accurate picture of the true extent of Google’s thirst for data with the creation of Google Tellersoftware that beeps each time your computer sends user information back to Google.
The Google advertising network, search engine activity and Google Analytics primarily drive the company’s data collection efforts. Fortunately, the company openly lists all IP addresses associated with its services (with the exception of Google Cloud, for obvious reasons), so that Googleteller can easily monitor what is sent to those servers. Once configured, the software beeps if any program or web page you are using attempts to access one of these IP addresses (via 9to5Google).
You may think you know how often your computer communicates with Google, but using Googleteller can quickly become an eye-opening experience. When typing a search query into your browser’s address bar, each keystroke results in a beep as Google retrieves autocomplete suggestions. Google Chrome isn’t even exclusively to blame here, and Firefox delivers similar results. As we can see in this video above, pretty much every interaction with the Dutch government careers page results in a beep, possibly because of all the data collected using Google Analytics.
Since this software is mostly coded in C++ for Linux environments like Ubuntu, Fedora or Debian, its accessibility is a bit limited. Some people got it work on macOSwhile others worked to develop cross-platform versions. If you want to try Googerteller, you can install it for free, but beware, it can quickly get annoying. Also, keep in mind that Googerteller is just letting you know what’s going on, and it will always be your responsibility to change your online behavior if you want to limit the data you make available. We suggest trying LineageOS if the incessant beeping turns into nightmare fuel. Meanwhile, Hubert is working on Expanding Googerteller with Facebook’s surveillance IPs – another major hub for ads and tracking.