(WHAT THE TECH)— You’d think to keep Google from tracking your every move, you could just turn off location history in your phone’s settings. You might even go a step further and turn it off in your Google settings. But you’d be wrong…and be followed. I learned that last year.
Even after turning off location history in my phone’s settings and in Google, it followed me and recorded every stop I made. From a haircut appointment to a store, to my favorite coffee shop.
Not only that, but Google made that information available to companies interested in pushing location-based advertising my way. After it became evident what Google was doing, the company apologized and explained that a user’s location could also be tracked and recorded through their web and app activity.
Now, you can turn off tracking, at least up to a point. By going to MyActivity.Google.com, you see the options to pause your online activity from being recorded. While that might seem to be a solution, it doesn’t include activity from Google’s partner sites and apps nor your voice and audio recordings. You can also delete your YouTube history in the settings which include videos you watch and videos you search for. You can also choose to delete your YouTube history automatically. Google will keep your history for 18 months or 3 months before deleting the history.
You can also pause your location history in the MyActivity page, but that will limit your experience using Google Maps. Pausing it though does not delete your location history. There are other settings to review, but no matter what you change, no matter what you pause, at least some of your activity is being recorded and shared.
Remember, it isn’t just Google sharing your location. Facebook does it too and an analysis of apps found over a thousand have data sharing capabilities. They might be storing and sharing your location even when you’re not using the app. It’s a good reason to look through the apps on your phone, and if you’re not using one, uninstall or delete it.