More? Insidiously more. Even when you turn off settings for Do Not Track, Google keeps tracking your location, which websites you visit, where you go with your smartphone. Whoa! Really? Is Google that blatant? No. Just very tricky.
Not Fake News
Those who publish news these days often get lumped into the fake news category, but that’s mostly because too many people have been brainwashed not to understand the difference between news and opinion. Or, news about what happened where and to whom– general facts– vs. talking heads on TV, radio, and Podcasts who talk about the news.
They are not the same.
Well, there is privacy– and there is privacy. The Associated Press— about as newsworthy an organization without an ax to grind as you’ll find in the U.S. of A.– found that Google save your smartphones’ actual location history even if you turned off or paused tracking.
An Associated Press investigation found that many 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.
Here’s the deal about privacy settings and the growing list of features that we have to pay attention to. There are too many of them to remember, including what those little pop up requests to do this or access that really mean.
You know how this works. You get a pop up and think, “I’m busy. I don’t want to think about it. It’s Google. It must be OK, right?”
An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a “timeline” that maps out your daily movements.
AP’s research shows that tracking your location continues even when you think you’ve turned it off. Android or iPhone. Open the Maps app and Google now knows where you are. Use Maps and Google can track where you went.
Anybody got a problem with that?
Yes, Google has various controls here and there to help reduce some of the tracking, but understand that the search engine giant needs that information to sell to advertisers. All those free Google apps you use– Maps, Gmail, Chrome, et al– are designed to help gather information from you. Extracting yourself from that extraction processes is not an easy, well, process.
Why? Follow the money.
Google also says location records stored in My Activity are used to target ads. Ad buyers can target ads to specific locations — say, a mile radius around a particular landmark — and typically have to pay more to reach this narrower audience.
To be fair and honest, we know that Apple gathers information about users, too, but that tracking and gathering– highly limited relative to what Google and advertisers do– is limited, isn’t a revenue stream fro the company, and usually does not contain information about a specific user.
Google provides users with controls to adjust or delete some of the company’s notorious tracking mechanisms, but such off switches are buried and not easy to find.
Why not? Those settings are money to Google and the company would rather you not know they are available, and prefer that you don’t bother to use them. Matt Elliott cataloged a few steps to help delete some data, but not all data.