Google clarifies how it tracks users even with Location History off

Pinocchio with shadow

Just days after a report claimed that Google was collecting location data even when location services were turned off, the company has admitted doing it. Google has given the following response which is vague and doesn't address the issue completely.

The center lobbied the FTC to take action on Google almost a decade ago.

Google has responded to an outcry over how it continues to keep a record on people's whereabouts - even when they specifically opt-out - by changing the word of its misleading help page. But there is no actual mention of the word "location" in the help page for that option.

The page now clarifies that Google still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off.

"As the story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions".

Google told ZDNet sister site CNET in a statement that the change has been made to explain more clearly what the setting does.

The help page now states: 'This setting does not affect other location services on your device'. A popup appears that reads "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps".

'We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centers, ' Google said in a statement to the AP. The company collected and stored this data for users who had the "Web & App Activity" setting turned on.

The findings suggest that some Google apps, namely Google Maps, automatically store time-stamped location data from users.

Location History already stored inside your phone can be deleted by removing each individual entry found on the "My Activity" page.

This information is all logged as part of the 'Web and App Activity feature, which does not specifically reference location information in its description.

A year later, Google was fined $22.5 million for breaking the agreement after it served some users of Apple's Safari browser so-called tracking cookies in violation of settings that were meant to prevent that.

It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.

Video: To comply with EU, Google simplifies privacy settings.

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