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Google admits it tracks users when location history is turned off

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Google has updated a help page for customers of mobile phones to acknowledge that they still can be tracked for using its Search or Maps services, even if they turn off the phone’s tracking feature.

In the help page for the Location History setting, Google clarified, “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps,” Xinhua reported.

The Google update came three days after a report of the Associated Press said that several Google apps and websites store user location even if users have turned off Location History.

The latest description of the Google help page is an apparent revision of what the US tech giant has previously stated: “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

Google has been criticized for tracking users’ locations, which could result from its push to make more profits from advertisers who could target more easily a certain group of users with the Google tracking data.

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Google’s previous statement about Location History could be misleading for users who turned off the tracking feature to show they did not want to be tracked, while the users were not aware that they were still tracked for their movements and locations via other Google services, such as Google Search, Maps, weather updates or browser searches.

Google offers users ways to keep their movements or locations private by disabling the “Web and App Activity” option on their mobile devices.