Monday , September 26 2022

Why disabling Google Maps does not prevent the app from knowing where you are (and what you can do to avoid it)


Every time you search for an address in Google Maps, let the app know where you are and store the information in your database … even if you tell them not to do so.

Just opening application, the system automatically stores your location and is able to guess your home or work address based on the locations and frequencies you visit.

Disabling location history does not prevent this from happening.

The company says it does it to "improve the user experience" and that it offers "Robust controls" so your customers can "delete the records any time. "

In fact, just a few weeks ago he published a new one on his site post entitled "Enabling Data Control in Google," where product manager Eric Miraglia explains the next steps for those who do not want to leave traces in the search engine.

However, for Maps, it is more difficult to avoid leaving a trace.


What happens in history and what is it?

When you search on Google Maps or set a route, the company saves it and records it in its memory. Everything you look for is stored in a section called "Location History" which specifies "user excursions".

These data are not only meant to make the service work well, but also for advertisers – from 2014 – Monitor the effectiveness of your online advertising.

Many mistakenly believe that disabling history is enough to prevent these records from being recorded.

"It would be thought that telling Google that it does not want to follow its location by disabling an option called" Location History "would prevent the Internet giant from storing data about its location," said British security researcher Graham Cluley on his blog. .

"But it does not seem to be the case," the specialist added, citing a recent Associated Press study that looked at this issue.

This report has prompted the rage of several US lawmakers who have accused the company of violating the privacy of its users.


The company then responded (at the end of August) making sure that it provided "clear descriptions of its instruments". And he responded again now with the news presented by Miraglia about the privacy of the search history.

While it is true that these changes affect only those who use the search engine for the moment, the manager says that "next year we'll extend it to Maps, and then to many other Google products. "

"Having access to privacy controls directly on the Google products you use every day is one of the things we work on constantly so everyone has privacy," he added.

But for now deleting your search history in Google Maps will not delete your Google data.

"Data stored in your account allows you to enjoy more personalized experiences across all Google services," says the company.


What can you do?

If you want to check Google Maps information about you, you can sign in to your Google Account and click on "Your Personal Information." In this file you will see more personal data and an option called "Google Maps Time Line".

If you visit it, you will see the most visited sites, trips, location history, address of your home and work … and which day, month, and year you went to every place.

But while clearing your search history is not enough to prevent Google from knowing where you are, there is another option that will allow you not to store it. That's what Google calls "Web & App Activity". This section shows "your searches and your activity in other Google services".

The company assures you that it is useful for you to get "better results and suggestions", but at the same time it allows you to learn more about yourself.

To disable this feature, you must sign in to your Google Account and click "Account activity controls" then disable to disable the feature.

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