Google is very good at tracking your day-to-day movements, a process that can be frustratingly hard to prevent.
If you have any number of Google developed apps on your smart phone, the ubiquitous search engine probably knows more about your comings and goings than you'd like. Services like Google Maps store such specific data that police forces have actually been able to use it to determine the location of suspects. And while the company says you can turn off your 'Location History,' to ensure "the places you go are no longer stored," this statement isn't entirely true.
You see, Google also collects your location data in a number of other, less obvious ways. Things like weather monitoring apps and web searches that are seemingly unrelated to your location can leave highly detailed records of where you are. Even if you ask Google to stop tracking your 'Location History,' it continues to collect data about where you are located, using several other headings such as 'Web and App Activity.' Many of the places where Google stores your location data aren't clearly labeled either, making figuring out which settings to turn off a veritable nightmare.
"If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off," Jonathan Mayer, a computer science professor at Princeton, told AP. Research from his lab has confirmed the amount of detailed data Google quietly collects about users.
Why is Google trying so hard to collect users location data? The probable explanation is the advertising revenue the can be generated off it. The data allows advertisers to target very specific locations and demographics, theoretically boosting their sales.
Avoiding the all-encompassing reach of Google is no easy task these days.