Google Data Collection on Android

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Hi there, I hope you’re well? I’m new to this community so forgive me if I’ve placed this query in the wrong section.

I hope to soon make the transition from iOS to Android but wanted clarity on a few areas of privacy before making the commitment – I’ve included some questions below that I couldn’t find answers for.

I appreciate that these questions can only really be answered by Google but I lack the technical knowledge about these issues that many others on this forum may be able to shed some light on.

1. Google frequently refers to themselves as "we" with regard to their data collection – does this mean individual Google employees who are capable of viewing the personal data of a user? Or does data collection mostly come from machine input? I ask this as I just want to know a little bit more about what information of mine is accessible to Google employees – there are undoubtedly situations where my data will need to be viewed, such as Google receiving a request from the police, but I’d feel safer using Google products if I knew that it wasn’t possible for an employee to view my photos, contacts, emails and so on without justification.

2. Is it possible for Google to collect personal data from within third party applications downloaded to an Android device? Given that all applications are downloaded onto the Android operating system, does Google have a presence in these applications? For example, if I use WhatsApp is it common for Google to collect data about my conversations?

3. Similar to the above, is it possible for a third party app to collect information about another third party app? Can I feel secure knowing that applications (subject to permissions given to them in settings) are closed off from other applications? Random example: could the Instagram app hypothetically track my usage of YouTube? Or does the Android OS not permit such privilege?

4. Does Android collect keystroke data? I personally am not a user of Gboard and may not be when joining Android, but does Google collect all of the information I input into my keyboard at any given moment?

If any of the above are answered ‘yes’ please could you provide a way of opting out of this, if a way exists?

Apologies for the long message and thank you for your support.

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