How to edit your Google settings for location history

Joanna Estrada
August 18, 2018

The center lobbied the FTC to take action on Google almost a decade ago.

The option previously said, "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored", which, as it turned out, was an incorrect statement.

The findings suggest that some Google apps, namely Google Maps, automatically store time-stamped location data from users. Thanks to cached versions of the website version, it is possible to see that the online version online changed on Thursday.

It now appears that in the aftermath of that story, Google has made a change to its "help" page that more accurately reflects how location data works.

To fully turn off the collection of location data, you need to log into your Google account and then navigate to "Web & App Activity" under Activity controls.

Thanks to the backlash from users, some of whom were not even aware they were still being tracked, Google has changed the language on its help pages to clarify its tracking practices. "View Google settings on your Android device to change this setting".

Call it bad wording, call it blatant lying, call it what you like - Google was recently found to have been misleading people about what disabling Location History on their phones actually meant.

There is clearly a difference between allowing an app to use your location when you are using it - like searching for coffee shops in a part of town you rarely visit - and storing that location information so it can be attached to your profile and sold to advertisers.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. Turning that setting off that would in fact stop recording location data.

From that help page: "If your Android usage & diagnostics setting is turned on, your device will still share information with Google, like battery level, how often you use your device and apps, and system errors".

Google critics complain that even with the rewording, the way location data is stored in multiple locations and controlled by multiple settings is hard to fully understand.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects - such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google a year ago to find devices near a murder scene.

Additionally, new data-privacy rules adopted by the European Union have also generated a greater focus on protecting user data.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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