Everyone should know that the services and app you use from Google aren’t really free. In exchange for creating a Google account and using Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, and even search itself, you agree to have your data collected. And one of the data metrics that’s collected is your location history. Here is a look at how you can really stop Google from tracking your location while using its services.
A recent report from the Associated Press reveals that even if you disable Google’s Location History on your phone, it’s not really stopping the search giant from tacking you. In fact, just today the company clarified its tracking policy. “We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centers,” a Google said in a statement to the AP.
Stop Google Location Tracking
To really stop Google’s tracking, you do need to disable the aforementioned “Location History” but also turn off “Web & App Activity” for your Google account. To do it on Android, head to Settings > Google > Google Account > Data & personalization and then turn off the “Web & App activity” switch. A new screen will come up telling you a lot of your apps will be a lot less useful – verify you want to pause activity.
You can also stop tracking using a browser on your computer or iOS device. Open your browser and log into your Account Activity Controls and turn off Web & App Activity.
You also want to make sure Location History is paused if it isn’t already. Just scroll down to the next set of controls and flip the switch off.
You only need to do this once and it will turn off Web & App activity and Location tracking across all devices you’re logged in with that account. If you have more than one account, you will need to do it for each account. Also, keep in mind that this only stop collection activity from this point forward. It doesn’t delete any of your previous activity. However, you can manually delete your Google search and browsing history.
Basically, and this should come as no surprise, the tech giant is updating the Help and FAQ pages to reflect changes in its tracking policies. Unfortunately, it’s up to you as the end user to know when the changes have been made. Google, at least in this latest instance, isn’t sending email notifications about the change.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into how companies collect your data and how to avoid it. In the meantime, make sure to check out the following articles with tips for protecting your privacy on other tech products.
- Download Your Entire Google Search History
- Delete Your Voice Recordings from Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Siri
- How to Use the New Privacy Settings on Windows 10 1803
- How to Keep Your Facebook Data Private
- Delete Your Apple ID via Data and Privacy Portal
In the end, we choose to carry smartphones and use social services to conduct our daily business. So, short of giving up your smartphone altogether, it’s unrealistic to expect any type of total privacy. But it is possible to learn more about technology and do everything to avoid giving away too much.