Google is constantly tracking you wherever you go and more: Report

The company isn't doing anything legally wrong. But is it morally right?

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Highlights

    • Google utilises various smartphones services to track a lot of your actions
    • The company isn’t doing anything legally wrong. But is it morally right?

Google Maps remains one of the most helpful features on Android-powered smartphones these days. With all the improvements in the technology, it not only gets you from one place to another but helps you explore, plan trips and much more. However, not everything is good with this, a recent report by Quartz states. During their analysis of the app, they found that Google is constantly tracking the users wherever they go.

The Location History on a smartphone is the feature which helps Google Maps provide automatic traffic updates, and a map of the routes the user has travelled in the past. To get a perfect result for you, the company tracks your location with numerous of your smartphone services including – GPS, Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, Bluetooth (even when turned off), and much more.

Here is a list of some of the findings posted by Quartz in its report,

  • Whether or not you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and the details about which one you are you connected to.
  • What type of physical activity are you doing. Eg. are you walking, cycling, sitting, driving etc.
  • Every detail about all the nearby Wi-fi access points.
  • Every detail about all the nearby Bluetooth devices.
  • The battery level of your smartphone, and whether you are charging it or not.
  • Battery type that you are using along with its voltage.
  • The GPS details about your smartphone like coordinates, elevation and accuracy.

Quartz reached out to Google regarding this research, and the representative said,
“With your permission, Google uses your Location History to deliver better results and recommendations on Google products. For example, you can receive traffic predictions for your daily commute, view photos grouped by locations, see recommendations based on places you’ve visited, and even locate a missing phone. Location History is entirely opt-in, and you can always edit, delete, or turn it off at any time.”

In legal terms, Google isn’t breaking any laws by tracking people (literally every part of their lives), due to the feature being offered as an opt-in service. Users can go ahead and opt-out whenever they want. But, hiding these terms of services in long and lengthy contracts that the users need to agree upon is as close as it gets to privacy invasion.

Also Read: Google Play Audiobooks now available in India: Here is what you need to know

Google can simply utilise this data behind our backs within closed doors to serve us with specifically targeted advertisements, which is not a good thing. Personally, I feel that the company needs to be more transparent about when and what they are tracking in clear terms up front, along with information on how to turn this feature off.