Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that helps website owners understand how visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics customers can view a variety of reports about how visitors interact with their website so that they can improve it. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors.
Like many services, Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions. These cookies are used to store information, such as the time that the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before and what site referred the visitor to the web page. Browsers do not share first-party cookies across domains.
Every computer and device connected to the Internet is assigned a unique number known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. Since these numbers are usually assigned in country-based blocks, an IP address can often be used to identify the country, region and city from which a computer is connecting to the Internet. Google Analytics collects the IP address of website visitors in order to provide website owners with a sense of where in the world their visitors come from. This method is known as IP geolocation.
Google Analytics does not report the actual IP address information to Google Analytics customers. Additionally, using a method known as IP masking, website owners that use Google Analytics have the option to tell Google Analytics to only use a portion of the IP address, rather than the entire IP address, for geolocation. Whether or not website owners use Google Analytics, they have access to IP addresses for visitors to their sites.
Personal information is information that personally identifies you, such as your name, email address or billing information, or other data which can be reasonably linked to such information. The Google Analytics Terms of Service, which all Analytics customers must adhere to, prohibits the tracking or collection of this information using Google Analytics or associating personal information with web analytics information.
Website owners who use Google Analytics have control over what data they allow Google to use. They can decide if they want Google to use this data or not by using the Google Analytics Data Sharing Options. When these options permit it, the data is used to improve Google products and services. Website owners can change these options at any time.