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How detailed does Google Maps report to Google HQ?


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  1. AllThingsPure

    AllThingsPure Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    My Galaxy S comes with a built-in Google Maps application. It is not installed by me and hence it does not appear under Manage Applications and I do not know how to tell what sort of information it is accessing.

    But according to the Privacy Policy of the application, it sends my position to Google, together with my phone number and email address.

    Does anyone know how often this data is sent to Google? Is it a few times per second or is it every so many meters I have moved. This is frightening!
     

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  2. jeremytanner

    jeremytanner Well-Known Member

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    When you run Google Maps and have your GPS turned on, yes, it sends your location data to the Google map server so it can update your position on the map and send new map data as you move. The service is designed so you can navigate or see your position and movement, not specifically for Google to track you.

    That being said, Google occasionally inadvertently collects data on users without even intending to (see recent scandals related to Streetview) so I can understand why it might concern some. I don't discount your concern.

    The one question you might ask yourself is, what possible use would Google make of the data, if they did keep it somehow? I don't know about you, but there's not really that much interesting about my life that Google would care to know about. I'm not as important as I like to think I am. ;) In a worst-possible scenario, if the data ended up getting collected and later retrieved by a hacker, would the hacker care to see my path to work every day, or that I went to the grocery store last Wednesday?

    Two ways you can combat it if you don't want to risk the issue: Force-close Maps, or turn off your GPS when you don't need it. Or both. :)
     
  3. jeremytanner

    jeremytanner Well-Known Member

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    ...and a third: Use an app like Titanium Backup to freeze or remove the Maps app. ;)
     
  4. DenverRalphy

    DenverRalphy Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing scandalous behind it. Google Maps uses the information to streamline their advertising to focus on providing ads that pertain to you. Google's services have always been based around advertisements, so they'd rather focus on ads you may be interested in. For example, if are in Oklahoma, advertisements to businesses in California wouldn't be very effective. As well, the information streamlines information when using their search engine.

    Google doesn't sell, monitor, or betray that information. If they did, Google would crumble fast. Take the fiasco that happened in the past year as an example... When it was discovered that Google had inadvertently collected more detailed information than they had intended when they sent their StreetView vehicles all around the world to record information, a couple of governments wanted Google to turn that information over to them. Google opted to destroy that information instead, and not betray user privacy.
     
  5. nomarsgirl

    nomarsgirl Well-Known Member

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    I wish television advertising was as specific as google ads. I live in Massachusetts and constantly see ads for Geico which is not licensed to do business in this state and Red Lobster that doesn't have a restaurant within 200 miles of where I live.
     
  6. chimphappyhour

    chimphappyhour Well-Known Member

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    They use the information to find out how long you were sitting on the toilet and what you were doing on your phone while in there. Were you playing a game or surfing for porn? They know.

    Ok, not really. Jeremytanner and DenverRalphy are spot on though. They seem to take privacy pretty seriously. I thought I saw someplace where opting out was allowed but don't remember where. It actually behooves you to stay in though. They use your positioning info to provide better info for all users. I do believe it is integrated into traffic info for instance. The more info they can get, the more exact the picture they can paint. And as Jeremytanner said, chances are that your raw data isn't really all that interesting to anyone who might possibly take the time to peek at it. (Which I doubt actually happens.)
     
    SpasticPat likes this.
  7. brownhornet

    brownhornet Well-Known Member

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    Ill never forget once when I used google maps on my phone to find a nearby bbq spot. When I got home and signed in on my laptop and used youtube.. I kept getting ads about bbq. I NEVER thought anything about it until like the day after.
     
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  8. jeremytanner

    jeremytanner Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it always seems a little invasive when you get targeted advertising. On the other hand, that pays for the free OS, the free email, the free connectivity to their data, and all the other major free things Google offers. Somewhere there's a trade-off. The thing that would make it less compuctual would be if Google offered their services at a paid rate to remove advertising.
     
  9. wuthton

    wuthton Well-Known Member

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    Well said, a free lunch is a very rare thing.

    Just imagine for a moment how much the streetview project must have cost.
     

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