Google Tracks Your Location Even if Location History Is Off – 4 Quick Steps How to Stop It

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A new report claims Google can log users’ locations even if they’ve opted out of the company’s Location History feature. 

Keep on reading Nexter.org to know more.

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Source: Getty Images

What else don’t we know?

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to, Associated Press exclusively reports.

According to the fresh investigation, Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “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.”

Actually, we all knew about it but this time it came up as an official report. Here’s what we’re talking about: when you turn off (technically “pause,” a choice of words in itself troubling) “Location History,” a major Google account-level setting, you are told: “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.” Yet many apps and services Google provides when Location History has been turned off, in fact, do record and store your location.

To be fair, this is explained, after a fashion, when you turn off location history (here): “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”

Although it makes sense that checking the weather would require location data, it makes less sense that the data would be collected systematically, in direct contradiction with what the user has been told. It’s not exactly a deception on Google’s part, but rather what appears to be a deliberate understatement of the company’s other location tracking practices.

google-tracks-location-photo

Source: Getty Images

How to stop it

To actually turn off location tracking, Google says you have to navigate to a setting buried deep in your Google Account called Web & App Activity, which is set by default to share your information, including not just location but IP address and more.

Her’es what you can do:

1. Sign in to your Google account on a browser on iOS or your desktop, or through the Android settings menu.

2. In the browser, access your account settings by finding Google Account in the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner, then head to Personal Info & Privacy, choose Go to My Activity, then in the left-hand nav click Activity Controls. Once there you’ll see the setting called Web & App Activity, which you can toggle off.

3. On your Android phone, go from Google settings to Google Account, then tap on Data & personalization. You’ll find Web & App Activity there.

Google further buries the notion that Web & App Activity has anything to do with location. In fact, the setting sits right above the Location History option, suggesting at a glance that the two things are quite distinct. And Google’s vanilla description of Web & App Activity is that it “Saves your activity on Google sites and apps to give you faster searches, better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.” From there, you have to tap Learn more, then scroll to What’s saved as Web & App Activity, and tap again on Info about your searches & more before Google says anything about location whatsoever.

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4. To stop that tracking, toggle the blue Web & App Activity slider to off. Google will then give you a popup warning: “Pausing Web & App Activity may limit or disable more personalized experiences across Google services. For example, you may stop seeing more relevant search results or recommendations about places you care about. Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session.”


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Google Tracks Your Location Even if Location History Is Off -  4 Quick Steps How to Stop It
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