PSA: Google just activated on every account a feature that tracks your location (or approximate location) when and where you do every action. So it doesn't just record "Listened to Cher 17 times on November 29th" it also adds the PRECISE GPS coordinates of WHERE you listened to Cher 17 times.

I would advice going into your account activity settings and disabling this!

Disabling location on your phone isn't enough since as we know that doesn't actually stop google from tracking and it also can collect this information from web browsers (so it had the GPS coordinates of my job, for instance, even though location was disabled)

Here's the link to the settings page where you can disable this, it's labeled "location history"

@shel this was disabled on my phone but enabled on my account overall

I wonder what that means

I wonder why it's possible

@shel apparently mine is already turned off. Although Goog will regularly ask me to turn it on again…

@shel Slightly telling that you can't actually disable it, instead all you can do is "pause" it.

@shel I just told Google to stop collecting stuff. Now I simply have to assume they're doing it privately.

@shel yeah, I have location history turned off on everything and won't install phone apps that require it. Evernote does /not/ need to know where I am.

@shel I wonder if one could spoof GPS coordinates without Google Location Services recording that they're spoofed

and a bluetooth connection to a speaker

and swarm their database with phones playing Believe over Bluetooth speakers 24/7 in Sergey Brin's office

@soft_chomps They recently changed it or something or incorporated it into more services; created a "timeline" you can view of where you've been, and activated it on every account even if you had all tracking activity disabled before

@shel @soft_chomps I just checked mine and it's still disabled despite me not having touched it in a very long time, though.

@ashlily @soft_chomps mine was activated even though I disabled everything a while back and check it like annually

@shel Yeah people, you know, just get rid of Google already. How hard can it be?

@jomo it's hard and i can't do it like there just aren't better alternatives that aren't even more locked down and i also HAVE to use it for work and grad school because they use G suite

@shel there are good alternatives for most of Google's services. Some of them are not as intuitive because they don't have top notch UX designers and for some you might have to pay a few bucks, but IMO it's worth it knowing they won't collect your private data. Look around! Regarding school/work that's a bummer. I'd create a separate account for each and provide as little information as possible, lock everything down, use fewest services possible.

@shel Also, perhaps most importantly: Do not stay logged in to your account when using the web.

@shel it was off for me but I wiped my other stuff, thanx

I need to break up with Larry and Sergei

two notes on the google PSA

1. "location sharing" and "location history" or two independent settings. The former was what i had turned off in the past and was still off but the latter seems to be new, turned itself on, and was still recording my location

2. Apparently it hasn't been switched on for each and everyone but it was for me and some others so go check anyway

@shel you should probably check if location history is turned on every time you update your software too lest it decide to turn itself on again in the future.

This *is* Google we're talking about here, after all...

@shel I have given up trying to escape Google on my tracking device. I make sure to only use it for a subset of my life anyway, so they don't get a full picture

@shel does anybody know what this feature is called/how to disable it? Because that shit’s straight up creepy, but I have no idea how to turn it off

@theycallmemo @shel Was turned off on my phone (Android 7, settings > location). The "learn more" takes you to a page with deletion instructions:

@shel Location history is already paused for me? It seems like something that's been around for a while, unless I'm mistaken

@shel To be more certain of your privacy I recommend installing microG if you have an Android phone. It's much improved my battery life and I've wanted to get rid of most Google Services. Only issues I've had so far is an inability to use the NBC Sports Gold app on my phone, and casting is unfortunately busted.

@shel I'm sad that there is no way to delete Location History. And one has to delete an entire day of Google use rather than individual uses (e.g. maps, search, YouTube)

@shel I just never "sign" into my phone. Stuff like this is a good reason why.

@shel I like that it confirms me to 'Pause' collection.

They are pretty clearly saying they will just unpause when they feel like.

Thanks for the heads up

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