How Big Tech spread its Data Sources

The fast rise of Big Tech is caused by multiple factors, such as network effects, the economy moving online and the unprecedented adoption of technology we’re encountering in this global pandemic. However, we believe that the most important factor in their capacity to collect and capitalise on data. To do that Big Tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, have been expanding their products and services into all aspects of the user’s lives. All in the name of accumulating more data.

It’s all about data

Data has become the new form of power. So how did they become so powerful? Did they accumulate so much data?

We did a deep dive into the strategies of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, to map out the ways they have expanded their businesses with the purpose of getting more user data and understanding users better. These strategies range from making bracelets and smartwatches, autonomous cars, smart home devices to, acquiring social platforms and apps on which users create a lot of valuable data. All in the name of data accumulation.

Next, an extract of the products developed and acquisitions made by Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, that can give them more access to user data.

How can they get data?

Alphabet Inc. (Google)

Product development:

  • Google Street View — Movement data
  • Google maps — Movement data
  • Gmail — Communication data
  • Drive — Communication & workspace data
  • G home — Home
  • Glasses — Health
  • Fiber — Online Behavioural data
  • Smart contact Lens — Health

Acquisitions:

  • Android — Behavioural data
  • Youtube — Entertainment data
  • Grand Central — Communication data
  • Meebo — Communication data
  • Jetpac — Health and Biometrics
  • Urban Engines — Transportation & movement data
  • Eyefluence — Health
  • Senosis — Health & Pulse data
  • Looker — Behavioural data
  • Typhoon studio — Entertainment data
  • Pointy — Behavioural data
  • Waze — Transportation & movement data
  • North — Health
  • Fitbit — Health

Facebook

Product development:

  • Facebook — Marketplace Behavioural data
  • Messenger — Social & Communication data
  • Workplace — Behavioural data
  • Portal — Home
  • Novi (Libra wallet) — Online Behavioural data

Acquisitions:

  • Instagram — Social & Communication data
  • Whatsapp — Communication data
  • Oculus — Entertainment data
  • Mapillary — Movement
  • Beat Games — Entertainment data
  • Tbh — Social & Communication data
  • Ready at Dawn — Entertainment data
  • Dreambit — Health
  • Giphy — Social & Communication data

Amazon

Product development:

  • Amazon Prime Music — Entertainment data
  • Amazon Prime Video — Entertainment data
  • Kindl — Entertainment data
  • Amazon Fire — TV Entertainment data
  • Amazon Pharmacy — Health data
  • Echo — Home
  • Echo Loop (in development) — Health & Pulse

Acquisitions:

  • Ring — Private space data
  • Eero — Online Behavioural data
  • Twitch — Social & Communication data
  • Pillpack — Health data
  • Zoox — Movement data
  • Alexa — Home

Apple

Product development:

  • Apple pay — Behavioural data
  • Health App — Health data
  • Apple watch — Health data
  • Apple Music — Entertainment data

Acquisitions:

  • Beddit — Health data
  • Shazam — Entertainment data
  • Emotient — Facial recognition data
  • Drive.ai — Transportation & movement data
  • Mobeewave Inc. — Behavioural data
  • NextVR — Entertainment data
  • Vrvana — Entertainment data

Our summary clearly shows how much access these companies have to personal data. We are not saying that all these acquisitions were made with the sole purpose of data collection. Apple and Amazon, having multiple revenue streams and business models rely less on user data. However, Google and Facebook’s revenue come largely from ads. The way to increase advertising revenue is to get more user attention and predict their behaviour more effectively. For Google and Facebook, it’s all about data.

Portability as Solution