Google updates Location History language after tracking backlash

Four days after admitting that it continues to track users even after the Location History tracking has been disabled, Google has updated its website to more accurately reflect the nature of its location policy. 

“This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device,” the updated Google Account Help page now reads. “Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps. When you turn off Location History for your Google Account, it’s off for all devices associated with that Google Account.”

The update was noted by the Associated Press, which first brought the tracking issue to light earlier this week in a report. Google initially denied its own inaccurate reporting, but later backtracked, adding that it had added clarifying language.

The company told TechCrunch earlier this week,

Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete, or turn it off at any time. As the story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.

Google further clarified that it had tweaked the language to offer more insight into continued tracking. The company told AP, “We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centers.”

Of course, fixing the language on a Help page isn’t the same as addressing the issue of continued tracking. Nor does it fully clarify the company’s tracking policy. And let’s be honest, most users will never see the Help page with that information listed. Transparency on the issues goes a long way when it comes to maintaining consumer trust.



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