Google tracks a user’s location, even when that will user has turned on a setting that will seemingly prevents location tracking, according to an Associated Press in addition to Princeton University report Monday.
Many apps collect their users’ location data — in addition to even sell that will without their consent. A lot of creeped-out Google users, knowing Google’s tracking will be extremely detailed, have already turned location tracking off through their Google account. What they don’t realize will be that will turning off the setting, called “Location History,” only stops Google via adding their whereabouts to their Google Maps Timeline (more on that will below), nevertheless does not stop Google via collecting location data, according to the report. This particular will be true for all Google users across Android in addition to iOS.
The setting to actually turn off location tracking will be called Web & App Activity.
Web & App Activity collects in addition to stores users’ every move across Google’s products (viewable on the My Activity page through your Google account). This particular activity includes location information.
To truly get off Google’s radar, click the blue toggle on Web & App Activity to fully pause tracking (that will’ll turn gray).
that will’s important to note that will once This particular will be turned off, you’ll stop receiving personalized recommendations based on previous searches.
There you have that will. today, the confusing part will be that will many people already know about Google Maps Timeline, a feature that will shows you where you went, as well as how in addition to when you got there. Google gives users the option to opt out Timeline — however, This particular option does not disable location tracking (even though that will seems like that will might).
At the bottom of the Timeline web page, Google notifies you whether Location History will be on or off, in addition to invites you to manage that will. On a support page describing the setting, Google says, when Location History will be turned off, “the places you go are no longer stored.”
You can disable Timeline by clicking the Location History toggle. Many people stop here, nevertheless they’re missing the actual setting that will will prevent location tracking: Web & App Activity.
What Google fails to clarify will be that will turning off your Location History means your whereabouts are no longer stored in Timeline, nevertheless the company will still collect the data anyway.
University of California, Berkeley, graduate researcher K. Shankari found that will, after she turned location history off, Google Maps still knew she was shopping at Kohl’s. The app asked Shankari to rate her visit at Kohl’s, even though she hadn’t used Google Maps to navigate there or look up the store’s location.
that will’s because various other Google apps automatically collect location data. For example, when you search something with Google Search, the app will log where you submitted the query. After attempting to pause location history, Google serves a pop-up that will states, confusingly, “location data may be saved as part of your activity on various other Google services, like Search in addition to Maps,” with no links or guidance on how to turn off location tracking overall.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Google spokesperson said: “Location History will be a Google product that will will be entirely opt in, in addition to users develop the controls to edit, delete, or turn that will off at any time. As the story notes, we make sure Location History users know that will when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”
The information Google collects will be incredibly detailed. Google not only tracks your phone’s GPS data, nevertheless also the unique MAC address (a series of numbers that will’s unique to every Wi-Fi router) of every nearby Wi-Fi access point in addition to Bluetooth beacon to help triangulate your exact location. So if you logged on to the airport Wi-Fi, for instance, Google might know where you are.
If you want to learn more about how exactly Google still tracks your location while Location History will be turned off, read This particular report via Berkeley researcher K. Shankari.