If you have location services enabled on your phone, Google maps where you go.
Google Maps stores location data on phones, effectively tracking where you’ve been while your smartphone is in your pocket. Luckily, smartphone owners can easily disable this feature if it’s not turned off already.
Google places a red dot on a map and breaks down locations you’ve visited by day as well as how you were traveling (walking, driving, etc.) It stores this information for its own records, but you can also view your location history online. Log in with the same Google account associated with your phone, and if you’ve had location services enabled, you’ll see the red dots and lines tracking where you’ve traveled each day.
This happens when you have Google’s location services enabled on your phone. Fortunately, Google makes this easy to disable. In your settings under Google Location Reporting, you can disable both location reporting and location history. Location Reporting allows Google to store your location data for where you’ve been and whether you were walking, driving, or biking. Google noted that this feature can also use a lot of data, so if you have it turned on, that’s another reason to be wary. Location History allows Google to store a history of your location data across your devices through your Google account. Turning these off will not erase your location history.
On the same page as your location history map, you can delete all history. While the data won’t be completely gone, the average person won’t be able to see it.
This is, of course, nothing new and comes as no surprise to people who have been paying attention. Companies have been tracking consumers for years, trying to tailor content to specific people. Ethan Zuckerman, the creator of the first pop-up advertisement, explained earlier this week that public and private surveillance often cooperate and work together. While people have been worried about government surveillance, private companies also access and store your personal information.