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Is Google tracking everywhere you go? Check these settings

Is Google tracking everywhere you go? Check these settings
© Marcel De Grijs | Dreamstime

Your privacy is in a continual tug-of-war in the digital age. On one hand, you can't imagine life without the convenience of GPS and virtual assistants rattling off reviews for nearby restaurants.

On the other hand, well, that is a bit creepy, too. It's unsettling to think about websites and Android smartphones tracking your whereabouts, from your home to the office and to locating where your car is on the highway.

The truth is, you're giving up a lot of your privacy to enjoy the conveniences of modern technology. We all do it.

After all, it's great to have a virtual assistant in your pocket. When you need the help, it's a relief to turn on your smartphone to get you from Point A to Point B. You can find a hair salon or the closest movie theater with prices and times for the flick you want to see.

Yet, just open any website or turn on a 24-hour cable news network and you'll see the scary and sometimes dangerous downsides to all this connectivity. People know where you are when you don't want them to know.

So, it's important that your family and you are vigilant when it comes to protecting your privacy. For instance, is Google tracking you right now?

We have simple tips to make sure you're not being tracked. Do not skip No. 3!

Tip in a Tip: 3 Google Maps features you never knew existed

Turn Off Google Location Tracking

Can you imagine life today without Google Maps? How did we successfully drive from one location to another without it?

Google Maps is an enormously helpful tool. The best part about it is, you can tap the Google Maps app to get you out of scary situations.

Maybe you've already experienced that. Say you're on a business trip to a city you've never been to. The problem is, your flight was delayed because of bad weather. You land at 2:00 a.m. in a strange city. The car rental lot is dark and deserted.

Google Maps is going to help you out of there. That's a great thing, so you do not want to completely get rid of location tracking.

But you do need to protect yourself. Google does not need to track you all the time and share your information with who knows who. Yet, it often does.

So, you need to take control of when you want Google knowing where you are, and when you don't. Here's how to turn off Google's location tracking (from Google Support).

  1. Open your device's Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location >> Location. (If you don't see "Security & Location," tap Location.)
  3. Turn Location on or off.

Choose Location Accuracy Mode

The key to safely allowing Google to track you is to be aware of when it's tracking you and how it's tracking you. For instance, you can set how thoroughly it monitors your location. If you prefer a less intrusive location tracking, select Device Only mode. (Steps below courtesy of Google Support.)

  1. Open your device's Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location >> Location. (If you don't see "Security & Location," tap Location.)
  3. Tap Mode. Then pick:
    • High accuracy
      This mode uses GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and other sensors to get the highest-accuracy location. It uses Google's Location service to help estimate your device's location faster and more accurately.
    • Battery saving
      This mode uses sources that use less battery, like Wi-Fi and mobile networks. It uses Google's Location service to help estimate your device's location faster and more accurately.
    • Device only
      This mode uses only GPS. It doesn’t use Google's Location service to provide location information. It can estimate your device's location slower and use more battery.

Quick Way to Turn Off Location Tracking

Do you know there is a little icon on your Android devices that lets you know when an app is tracking you? It's this little location icon that looks like a little arrow pointing to where you are. LocationJust swipe down on your smartphone menu and tap on it to turn it on or off.

Bonus: Erase Your Location History

Are you concerned that hackers, criminals or nosy family members are tracking where you've been? It's a valid concern.

Google does keep track of your location history. It's up to you to turn it off. Here's how to do that:

Settings >> Google >> Google Settings >> Location >> Google Location History >> turn it off or on.

Note: These steps may vary slightly, depending on which Android device you're using.

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