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Does Google know where you are?

So many people are concerned about privacy with Facebook and Google.  What about location concerns? Google has updated the help page for its Location History feature to acknowledge the fact that the company still tracks users through the use of its services like Google Maps, weather updates, and browser searches, according to a report from the Associated Press.

As noted by the APthe help page for the Location History setting has been updated to clarify that “This setting does not affect other location services on your device,” and that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.”

A recent test of a smartphone shows that even if your phone is not connected to the cell network or data services.  Your smartphone will record your location and notify Google, Facebook, and other services you.  You can adjust whom you share location data under location settings on your phone.

AP had previously reported that Google was still tracking users who had disabled the Location History feature earlier this week, noting that while the company had originally claimed that “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored,” in reality all that was happening was that Google was no longer adding user’s locations and movements to its Timeline feature — but that the company was still tracking users through other means. Nothing has changed, except for the updated language on the help page that now more accurately reflects what’s happening.

But while the Location History toggle won’t actually stop Google from tracking you, users can turn that off by disabling the “Web and App Activity” option (which is enabled by default). Turn it off, and Google won’t be able to store and track your Maps data and browser searches for location anymore.

Should you worry? If you are trying to hide, you need to know you are being tracked.  If that is the case, buy a tent, throw away your cell phone, stay off the internet and don't drive a car (they have GPS). Personally, I do not have anything to hide, I don't worry.  In fact, the next time I misplace my phone, I can find it online.

Dwight Cook

Inspired by The Verge

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