Driving around town with Google Maps, you may have recently seen a notice on the display when you opened the app. Many users might glance over it and hit the OK button, but it’s actually an important update.
Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze are great for getting around, but it needs to get the live data from somewhere. You are the most valuable source of this driving data that is shared with others.
As you drive, get stuck in traffic, or use a different route than normal, Google Maps keep track of it. It uses this data to help other drivers. So, that recent notice that started to appear? If you don’t agree, your turn-by-turn navigation will stop working.
Here’s the backstory
There is an old saying that if an app or service is free, you are the product. This has recently been made excruciatingly clear through a message on Google Maps. The free navigation app will, in short, reduce your features if you don’t share your data.
Google is no stranger to taking something from you to use one of its products. In this case, the company wants your driving data to share with others. This is already practiced with many navigation apps, but you usually choose if you want to participate or not.
Google Maps does give you a choice, but it comes at a price. If you don’t agree to these terms, your turn-by-turn navigation will be disabled. This will only leave you with a breakdown of your drive, given by non-vocalized step-by-step instructions.
Google tries to pull at your heartstrings to make the app better for everyone in the pop-up message. Here’s what it states:
“Google uses your and other people’s navigation data to improve Maps for everyone. As you navigate, Google collects details, such as GPS location and the route you took. This data may be used to make information, including real-time traffic conditions and disruptions, visible to others and help them find the fastest route,” the notification states.
It does point out that data won’t be associated with your Google account. But can you truly believe that? Tap or click here to see some of the data Google collects on you.
What you can do about it
If you want to continue using Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, you must consent to Google collecting your driving habits, including where you go and how you got there. If that isn’t something you want to share, you must look elsewhere for directions.
The latter is available as a free download and affords you a bit more privacy in your navigation. It has directions for walking and public transport as well as regular vehicle directions. This also includes turn-by-turn voice guidance.
Apple Maps is the built-in navigation software on iOS devices. In addition to vehicle navigation, it features directions for walking and cycling and alerts for speed cameras and red‑light cameras. It integrates Guides too, which shows you interesting and the best places along your route.