As we all know, Google captures your location data almost constantly and can usually recognize your location directly on Android and iOS smartphones. According to some documents, Google once made it more difficult for Android users to stop this data collection. The unwritten documents of the lawsuit between Google and Arizona (via Business Insider) reveal some details about the company’s internal decisions about how location data is handled, particularly regarding how Android handles it.
According to the document, Google employees stated that third-party apps on Android could not be granted location access if the data is not provided to Google. An employee pointed out that this approach is that the company does not want information on the “homepage” of the media. The company apparently also believes that it is a “problem” for users to take advantage of the privacy settings in Android when the operating system version makes these options easier to find. As a result, the company hides these options in more menus.
According to reports, Google has also “pressured” LG and other Android partners to hide these settings. Another employee added, “This is how Apple eats our lunch,” and stated that competitors are “more likely” to allow users to share location data with apps instead of sharing location data with Apple, which is preventing I got the emphasis on the iOS 14 app tracking. It is not entirely clear whether the strategies mentioned in these documents are still in use today. In the testimony, former Google Maps vice president Jack Menzel “admitted” that the only way Google did not know the user’s home/work address was if the user deliberately abandoned the company. Jen Chai, product manager of Google’s location services, apparently admitted that he didn’t know how the company’s “complex privacy settings network” interacted. It is worth noting that things seem to have changed in recent years with Google’s increasing attention to privacy.
In 2019, the company implemented an incognito mode in the map, allowing users to make the most of the map without linking information to their Google account. In addition, Android 12 introduces better control over location data, such as the option to grant apps/services access to precise location data or approximate location.