Many of us use the Internet and take it for granted that the information we put out there is in safe hands. Every website we visit, every click of the mouse, we give away more and more of ourselves to mostly secure places online.

However, it just takes one wrong submission or phishing attempt to put your online life in jeopardy. Google has developed a mission called Good to Know to help Internet users with tips and good practices for surfing the world wide web. Let’s take a look at the “Good to Know” initiative by Google and see just how it works to protect you.

Google divides “Good to Know” into four categories: Stay safe online, Your data on the web, Your data on Google and Manage your data. Each of these areas explains what they mean, what is happening with your data and what you can do to keep it safe.

Tips to Stay Safe Online

Google’s campaign starts with tips about staying safe online. In the real world, you would never just hand out photocopies of your Social Security number to strangers; online, but we give out information every day that we often take for granted is personal in nature and could cause us harm in the wrong hands. Staying safe online starts from the moment you turn on your computer and begin to use the Internet.

Google breaks down staying safe online into the following categories: Passwords, phishing, malware, secure sites, safe networks, mobile security, check your Gmail account, family safety, shopping safety, signing out and Google’s security tools.

For more information, check out how to stay safe online section on Good to Know.

Your data on the web

The next part of Google’s campaign focuses on how your data on the web is used and why you should be aware of it. If you do not know how your data is being used, how can you properly prevent it from falling into the wrong hands? When you visit a web site, that site takes data from your browsing session and stores it for use later.

This data is generally harmless, basic information such as what browser you are using, how long you visit and what links you are clicking. While storing this information can be beneficial for both you and the web sites you visit, sometimes web sites use this information in ways they should not and you would never know about it unless it was revealed.

Google breaks down your data on the web into the following categories: Cookies, IP addresses and accounts.

For more information, check out “your data on the web” section on Good to Know.

Your data on Google

Most web sites never even disclose what they use the data they collect from you for. Google’s next section – your data on Google – discloses exactly what they do with your data. Google has implemented services to ensure your data is used responsibility, safely and securely whenever they access it. But how many of you even know what Google does with your data? Did you even know that Google works hard to keep your data safe?

Google has five principles they hold onto when dealing with your private data:

  • Use your data to develop products and services
  • Utilize data to find ways to protect it
  • Let you know what they do with your data
  • Give Google users ways to protect the privacy of their data
  • Be responsible for the data they collect

Google breaks down your data on Google into the following categories: Search logs, advertising, Google accounts and web history, other Google products and privacy, making search more relevant, making our services more secure, making search faster and helping society.
For more information, check out “your data on Google” section on Good to Know.

Manage your data

Google’s final area in the Good to Know campaign is called manage your data. It focuses on how you manage the data that you cannot avoid putting out their when surfing the web. Google offers a variety of tips, tricks and tools for managing your data on Google and elsewhere.

This category of the campaign is perhaps the most important of them all because once you know how your data is used online, you can work to begin managing and keeping it safe.

Google breaks down manage your data into the following categories: How to manage cookies, Google Dashboard, Ads Preferences Manager, Google takeout from the Data Liberation Front, search personalization, Google Talk, me on the web, incognito mode in Chrome, Google+ and the +1 button, Google Docs and latitude.

For more information, check out “manage your data” section on Good to Know.

Does Google’s Good to Know make a difference?

Google’s Good to Know campaign is one way they are working to get the word out on how data is used online, on their own services and how Internet users can manage their data. Google has always been a proactive, transparent company when it comes to user’s data. They have gone to great lengths to protect data they store from various governments, law enforcement agencies and others who would use it for their own nefarious purposes.

Google wants you to know how they use data, how others use data and how to keep it safe from those that would do wrong with it. Good to Know is a solid, worthwhile resource and every Internet user should take the time to read through it, watch the videos and do research into the tools available to protect their data online.