If you were wondering how Google suddenly asks you to rate a restaurant or a supermarket you visited just after you got out of the place, it is thanks to a feature called Location History that Google has on all Android operated devices. It is also available on apps like Maps which the iPhone users download and use. Now the general understanding its that the users have to option to turn off this feature if they felt it was invasion of their privacy. But it now turns out turning it off does not prevent Google from continuing to keep track of where you travel and storing it away.
This has been established with full evidence by Associated Press, through an investigation it did. To be fair to Google, most apps ask the users a question whether it is allowed to access the location of the userâs device before doing so. That is one reason the findings of this investigation by AP have surprised many. In a separate exercise, a research team at Princeton University ran a practical check using several Android devices as well as iPhones and in one case a fellow researcher was asked to keep the Location History setting on his phone âoffâ and the record of his Google Account was shared with the research team.
Interestingly, there are times when the law enforcement seeks the help of Google to track the movement of suspects in criminal cases. But the issue is though Google claims it has left to the user to choose of the Location History should be saved or not, the investigation by AP shows Google is possibly not revealing the whole truth in this. Specifically, apps like Google Maps and Weather invariably capture your location and store it and can be retrieved.
This issue has assumed significance after the data privacy in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scam broke out. In addition, there is the heightened regulations being adopted by the European Union on data privacy.
The only solution, as per experts, is to disable or âPauseâ âWeb & Web Activityâ. But even this may be only a partial remedy. One may have to go into individual apps and disable the location tracking feature. It could be time consuming and not every user may be able to do it.
Observers say that its only revenue through advertising that Google is keen on and it may be difficult to convince the company to completely do away with the practice of tracking and storing the location details.