Unless you change these settings, Google is still tracking you

Unless you change these settings, Google is still tracking you

Do you use any of Google’s apps? If so, you’re probably being tracked. Even if you turned off location history on your Google account, you’re not completely in the clear yet. While disabling that setting sounds like a one-and-done solution, some Google apps are still storing your location data. Just opening the Google Maps app or using Google search on any platform logs your approximate location with a time stamp.

Following a 2018 investigation by the Associated Press, however, Google has made it easier to control what location and other data is saved, and what is deleted with features like Your Data in Maps and Search, which give you quick access to your location controls. You just have to know where to look.

Turning off location history only removes where you’ve been from the Google Maps Timeline feature, which logs your location with certain data at a specific time. Google’s support page on the matter says that even when turned off, “some location data may continue to be saved in other settings,” like your web and app activity. Google told us that it uses this data to make features more personalized and helpful, and that this information is never shared with third parties or advertisers. But if you still aren’t comfortable with that, with a few more steps, you can generally stop Google from knowing where you are 24/7.

Just note that turning off this default setting does have some drawbacks. While Google’s settings may seem intrusive to some, they also help cultivate an ultra-personalized online experience, such as helping people find nearby businesses instead of ones in another city, or seeing personalized ads. They help give users more relevant information instead of random information, according to Google.

Here’s how to really turn off Google tracking, and what the outcomes of doing so might be.

Turn off Google’s location tracking

To completely shut down Google’s ability to log your location, here’s what to do:

1. Open Google.com on your desktop or mobile browser, and log into your Google account by using the button in the top right corner.

2. Click your user icon in the top right corner and select Manage your Google account.

3. Click Privacy & personalization.

4. Click Things you’ve done and places you’ve been.

5. Click Location history inside the History settings box. This opens Activity Controls.

6. Beneath Location History, click the button on the right that reads Turn off. This opens a pop-up window.

7. Scroll to the bottom of this window and click Pause.

What does this stop Google from storing?

Pausing this setting prevents Google from storing location markers associated with specific actions and stops storing information collected from searches or other activity. Turning it off keeps your approximate location private and other places you go — like your home address.

Note that to use certain features effectively, like the Maps app, Google will still need to access your location. However, completing the steps above prevents it from storing any future activity. When Google timestamps your activity within a general area, it is within a span of more than 1 square mile with typically more than 1,000 users to protect personal privacy. Google’s help page on the matter says this helps them to detect unusual activity, such as a sign-in from another city, while maintaining personal privacy.

However, you can grant Google permission to use your precise location — your exact location, like a specific address — for the best and acutely specific search results for where you are…Read more>>




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