Google Clarifies Location-tracking Policy — APNewsBreak

Some Google searches for terms such as “chocolate chip cookies” cause it to track users’ whereabouts

The Electronic Privacy Information Center says in the letter to the FTC that Google's recording of time-stamped location data - even after users have turned off a setting called Location History - "clearly violates" the 2011 settlement.

Google claimed that despite the misleading title of the setting, this approach was above board because its help page connected to the setting gave a "clear description" of how it worked.

The researchers found Google logs a record of your current location each time you open its turn-by-turn navigation app, Google Maps.

Previously, the page stated: "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored". During a Google Marketing Live even, executives for the tech giant bragged about using ads to boost in-person store visit through data drawn from users' location histories.

But this week the advertising goliath inserted an extra paragraph so it now reads: "You can turn off Location History at the account level at any time".

While a step in the right direction, Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist, believes that Google is still trying to create confusion among users by having multiple settings for storing location information of users. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps. Thanks to cached versions of the website version, it is possible to see that the online version online changed on Thursday.

These changes to language are irrelevant to the main argument.

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Now, Google has updated the description of Location history on its website to reflect that despite the feature turned off, it will collect the location data of its users. Because it is worth a lot of money to Google. These things can limit the effectiveness of Google services, but they are the only known solutions for users who want to protect their location data.

That option is included - for now at least - in the "Web and App Activity" option.

As we pointed out in our article, users can stop the tracking by disabling both "Location History" and "Web & App Activity".

Opening the Google Maps app takes a snapshot of users' locations and daily weather updates, like those used by Android phones, approximate the devices current location.

Google has not changed its location-tracking practices since the investigation was published.

According to the Associated Press, Google made the change yesterday around the middle of the day.

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