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 says that it will prevent the company from remembering where you've been.

You can turn off web and app activity tracking, which is enabled by default, and delete your location data in your Google account at

Turning off location history just appears to remove your location from the Google Maps Timeline feature, which shows you where you've been in Google's data. Google always receives this info, as does Apple, as does any app you are using gets it if it asks for it, unless the systemwide "Location services" settings are off for the smartphone itself, in which case a user wouldn't be able to use something like Google Maps.

The report indicates that there are still some Google apps that will continue to track your location, simply due to the way they function. Even with Location History disabled, some apps still track your movements without you knowing. "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".

Google, for its part, noted in a statement to the AP that it has several different ways to track and use a user's location to "improve people's experience". Google's support page on the subject says that: "You can turn off Location History at any time".

The investigation, performed by the Associated Press alongside Princeton University researchers, found that users are being misled by Google's claim that for those who turn off Location History "the places you go are no longer stored".

In order to prevent Google's location tracking, users need to disable the opaquely-named "Web and App Activity" setting - but even this is not a ideal solution.

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Google says tracking users' locations helps it to target geographically-specific ads. One involving the absolute nature of Google's all-seeing eye, and the comprehensive scope of everything it wants to know about you. You need to go into your settings and find "Web & App Activity" and shut off tracking there.

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.

Google is morphing into the helicopter parent we'd always feared it would; its location tracking persists even when users have explicitly told it not to, discovers AP News.

The tech giant's ad revenue rose 20 percent a year ago to $95.4 billion, largely due to location tracking to drive ad revenue. "They build advertising information out of data", he said. "More data for them presumably means more profit".

Mashable was also provided with this link on Google's location data policy. You're good to go.

The iPhone text is technically true if potentially misleading.

While disabling "Web & App Activity" will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. "For example, you may stop seeing helpful recommendations based on the apps and sites you use".

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