Turning off 'Location History' does not prevent Google from tracking you

Google tracks your movements even if you’ve turned location history off

Google tracks your movements even if you’ve turned location history off

Google offers settings that allow you to choose whether you want the company constantly tracking your location or not. "If you're going to allow users to turn off something called "Location History, ' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off".

So turning off Location History will keep Google from presenting your past movements, but it will not completely stop the company from tracking you while you use its apps on your iOS or Android device.

Such data can be very private indeed - with location history normally stored as a "timeline" showing where a user goes, minute by minute.

Google is tracking your location-even if you wish it wouldn't. AP noted actions like having your Android phone fetch weather updates sends Google a rough idea of your locale. "And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like 'chocolate chip cookies, ' or 'kids science kits, ' pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude - accurate to the square foot - and save it to your Google account". That's the two billion or so who use Android devices plus the hundreds of millions of iPhone users running Google map and search apps.

Jonathan Mayer from Princeton looked into the matter and confirmed the AP's findings.

In 2013, we suggested that users use the Location History web page on Google's site to display the Location History and to turn the feature off.

To prevent Google from saving location data from all of those tools, the company said users can turn off a setting called "Web and App Activity" - but since this setting is turned on by default, many people don't know about it and assume that when they turn "Location History" off, it will be off across all of their apps.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. 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.

Google gives customers access to location markers on the Activity Controls management page.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity. While the Location History feature may not collect your location, other Google services can.

If you've ever suspected that Google is watching your every move even when you explicitly tell it not to, a new investigation has vindicated your suspicions by proving just that.

Google is accused of being misleading and disingenuous with the information it provides Android and iPhone users. Location data is not stored under Location History, it is instead stored under My Activity. You need to go into your settings and find "Web & App Activity" and shut off tracking there. Google's capacity to track users is built deep into their networked architecture, where most of it happens automatically and in the background. Of course, it's no doubt used for marketing and advertising purposes as well. "View Google settings on your Android device to change this setting". But the AP said that isn't true.

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