Google ‘is tracking your location even if you specifically tell it to stop’

Rob Waugh

That’s the exact opposite of what you were supposed to do, Google (Getty)

If you value your privacy, you might want to be careful around Google applications – after an AP investigation found Google tracks people’s locations, even when told not to.

Even if people have specifically disabled ‘Location History’ on smartphones, Google apps still track and store their location.

Princeton researchers found that many apps record your location – often down to a few feet – and store it online.

But even if you decide to ‘opt out’ of storing this information, Google still saves information on your location.

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are.

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Some searches that have nothing to do with location, like ‘chocolate chip cookies,’ or ‘kids science kits,’ pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude – accurate to the square foot – and save it to your Google account.

Google’s own instructions say, ‘You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.’

But the search giant says, ‘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.

‘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.’

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information.

Called “Web and App Activity” and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.