Does Google catches and keeps users typing patterns for identifying purposes?

for example when I'm logged in my Google account and Searching for things Google records my "Typing Pattern" like typing speed and ... and makes an unique signature for me and then Identify me when I'm using Google from an anonymous computer using same typing pattern "same signature"

is this possible?

  • 2
    @Simon It doesn't have to on its own but it can improve accuracy. You could easily distinguish between typing patterns of an elephant and a donut :P
    – TildalWave
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:48
  • 1
    @Simon It is possible and it is even very accurate.Take a look at schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/11/authenticating.html or de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psylock (there is only a german version). So it is possible, but I don't know if Google does it (But I doubt it, I don't think this wouldn't be noticed by anyone)
    – Tokk
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:40
  • I just wanted to say that many of these answers are opinion based. While I have no knowledge of what Google does or does not do, big data is their business. Without direct knowledge of their collection policy, it would be foolish to make assumptions. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 15:36
  • This seems off topic. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Although I cannot say for sure what Google does or does not, it is unlikely that it records your "typing pattern". You can see the reason why thanks to Fabian Monrose's paper.

Since you are not likely to type long texts in the search bar the keystroke dynamic is not accurate enough to identify you perfectly, let alone out of millions of users. Moreover, you are likely to change the way you type over time, you might get a hand injury, change your keyboard, or change your device (computer, phone, tablet...).

So, it could work for very particular cases, but it is highly unlikely that Google would spend resources on this unreliable system.


The common nomenclature for "typing patterns" is called a fist. Many decades ago when morse code and telegraphy were common for long-distance communication, telegraph operators could identify other telegraph operators by the habitual quirks in each-other's style of tapping the key. This soon became called a "fist" and it exists even today. Our typing patterns and writing styles are all fairly unique, and given the rate of speed, typographical errors, types and placement of errors, consistency, word choice, grammatical errors, punctuation choices, emoticon usage, and probably several, several, several more categories exist where our typing patterns can be used to identify us.

There are a number of studies such as this one: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-24965-5_13 that provide an abstraction on how this is done. Since it can be done with messages like that, search pattern history could be used to identify you if there was enough history. Especially if it was corroborated with other information on you that has been cataloged and analyzed over the years.

While unlikely to be occurring, it is not impossible.

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