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25% of Internet traffic in North America is attributed to Google. 25% may not seem like a large percentage. But considering that there are billions of devices connected to the Internet every day, it is actually the lion’s share of Internet traffic.
Google Internet Traffic Share
We can all agree that Facebook, Netflix and Instagram are three of the most popular online services today. Facebook logs about 665 million users daily. Netflix has almost 30 million subscribers, with 7,000 new subscribers every day so far this year. Instagram has 90 million monthly active users posting 40 million photos each day. Now let’s put Google traffic into perspective. Google commands more traffic than these three services combined. Over the past three years, Google traffic has grown to 25% from 6%. This makes it the fastest growing Internet company as well.
Deepfield founder Craig Labovitz reports that in the past year alone, Google use has spiked. The Internet monitoring company analyzed North American Internet traffic over the past year. They concluded that 62% of all types of Internet enabled devices access Google at least once a day. Most of this growth can be attributed to Google’s acquisition of YouTube, but other Google features have captured their fair share of Internet traffic on their own.
Google has kept up with this massive spike in growth by building huge data centers on four continents. They have also been busy setting up thousands of servers around the world. The servers are meant to store popular Google network content. But they could also be a major reason behind Google’s growth. These Google Global Cache servers have been added to ISPs all over the world. They serve the stored content straight from these ISP’s data centers. Three years ago, when Google held a mere 6% of North American Internet traffic, they operated these servers in only a few North American ISPs. Today, these servers are connected to 80% of ISPs.
Caching is a common practice known to speed up content serving on massive websites. Many large websites have started making deals directly with ISPs for content caching and delivery. Most companies that use this strategy are not worried that people know about it. In fact, some of them use fast content delivery through caching as a marketing strategy. Google, on the other hand, is very secretive about this practice. Since the practice is not a secret, it cannot be considered a guarded trade secret. Their reluctance to make a statement about their server deals with ISPs suggests that the data they are caching is not solely for the purpose of being able to serve up popular content faster.
Localizing servers is a logical move for any Internet company serving a wide audience. Setting up servers on the edge of their users’ networks makes for speedier website functioning. Big companies that manage loads of content are likely to take up to practice of getting connected to local ISP network operations.
Privacy and Security Considerations
Massive amounts of data can be stored and controlled from Google Global Cache servers. They provide an ideal hub for data relating to each local group of Internet users. No one using services linked to Google is safe from having the data from their Internet activities monitored and stored. The type of user tracking involved has been proven to be unsafe. The data extracted from browsing activities is not secured, and can leak to third parties. Furthermore, the type of data stored has been proven to put Internet users at risk. The potential for this data is limitless, and so it is of great value to advertisers. It is also sought by hackers for use in perpetuating a wide array of hacks, fraud, and social engineering scams that often result in financial theft.
To stay safe from these potential risks, Internet users need to be aware of the methods that Google, other companies, advertisers and cyber criminals use to gather and manipulate data. Browser settings for privacy and cookies management need to be checked, but this does not work perfectly. To really keep personal activities private online, users need a VPN service. The VPN will hide the user’s actual IP address first of all, to keep their activities from being linked to their ISP accounts. The VPN will then additionally encrypt all data and traffic so that it cannot be traced or read. A VPN is still the tool of choice for anonymizing Internet activities and keeping data private.