According to a new report from the Associated Press, Google has a variety of different ways it tracks your location, and simply turning off Location History won't actually prevent the company from knowing where you are and where you have been.
It isn't surprising in the slightest that Google has more than one avenue to track a user's location, even after they've turned off a setting that explicitly deals with location tracking.
Besides, in the pop-up explanation that appears in order to make you confirm that you want your location data turned off, Google is entirely upfront when it says, in the second paragraph: "This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device".
The report, which was published Monday, shows Google still tracks users' movements. And if you think you're too canny to have been affected, you're probably wrong; Google creates a snapshot of your location when you so much as open Maps. He shared a record of his Google account, carried an Android phone with him and turned location history off.
'We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time'.
Of course by "may be saved" Google means "will be saved" and it forgets to tell you that "Web and App Activity" is where you need to go to stop Search and Maps from storing your location data. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service, but will end up taking out more than just location markers. Her phone requested she rate a recent visit to Kohl's, which prompted her to ask on her blog, "So how did Google Maps know where I was?"
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If you've used a smartphone for any length of time, you're probably aware that there are options to turn off location tracking. "It's enabled by default and called 'Web and App Activity".
When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account.
As for Shankari, she's most indignant about the opacity of the whole system; "I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle", she clarified.
To completely disable location tracking, users must turn off Location History and Web & App Activity - something not made abundantly clear to the typical user.
They require users to opt into sharing their data by allowing the apps to access their current location. With Location History off, Google Maps and other apps store your whereabouts in a section of your account called "My Activity", not "Location History". You're good to go.
Last year Google earned $95.4 billion from location-related advertising. In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.