A developer and privacy advocate has created a demo app that beeps every time your computer sends any data to Google. Spoiler alert — it’s a very noisy app.

On the internet today, larger tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon can sometimes feel like inescapable presences. Google, in particular, tracks the way you use its search engine and other apps in order to offer a better experience throughout its ecosystem.

But the things Google keeps track of can actually extend far further than you might expect, given the prevalence of Google Analytics and Google’s ad networks. In an effort to better understand what kinds of data is sent to Google, where it happens, and when it occurs, developer Bert Hubert — best known as the original creator of PowerDNS — created a new app called “Googerteller.”

Googerteller works using the list of IP addresses — freely provided by Google — that are associated with the many Google services, but not those related to Google Cloud. Any time your computer connects to one of those IP addresses, whether while using a program or when browsing the web, you’ll hear a beep sound.

In Hubert’s initial demo video, you’ll notice that there’s a beep after every keystroke into Chrome’s address bar, as the browser sends requests for autocomplete suggestions. While browsing the Dutch government’s careers website, nearly every click on the page, including expanding and collapsing menus, connects to Google, resulting in a beep. It’s likely these beeps are caused by what the site’s owners have decided to track via Google Analytics.

While there’s an argument to be made that some of these connections to Google could be caused by Chrome’s tight integration with Google services, Hubert showed nearly identical results while using Firefox.

Unfortunately, Googerteller is currently only designed to work on Linux-based operating systems (Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora, etc), but those who aren’t afraid to play around can install it for free. Some have even shared clever ways of running it on a Mac or developed cross-platform versions.

All in all, this app is simply meant to raise awareness (noisy, beeping awareness) of how often Google receives data related to your everyday browsing routines. What you choose to do with that information is up to you.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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