(RNN) – Even though Google gives you the option to switch off a “Location History” tracker, the company will still store location data based on your use of some Google apps, such as Maps, according to an Associated Press report.
The AP said it was able to track a Princeton researcher’s location over a period of days, even though he had the “Location History” setting on “pause,” Google’s way of saying it’s off.
That's because while “Location History” might be turned off, another setting allows Google to save location data. If turned on, “Web & App Activity,” will tag data points with a location, the AP reported.
The AP reported that the data was stored through a number of avenues on a Google user information panel, myactivity.google.com.
The data is not public - only visible to the account holder when signed in. But Google can use the information to help build user profiles valuable to advertisers.
The AP did not explain in detail where they found the location markers associated inside myactivity.google.com, and an attempt to recreate the discovery of exposed location data was unsuccessful.
“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”
Turning it off
Still, to be sure, users can take one simple step to ensure their location isn’t tracked and stored by Google.
Go to myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols, and check both “Web & App Activity” and “Location History” to “paused.”
The AP reported that past logged location data attached to certain entries in myactivity.google.com can only be deleted one by one.
— AP Business News (@APBusiness) August 13, 2018
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