Why? Well, the problem with Google is they have an incentive to do bad things to us, simply because we are not the real customer.
I am one of Google's real customers, I bought an expensive phone from them, but, to quote Josh Marshall:
> One thing I’ve observed with Google over the years is that it is institutionally so used to its ‘customers’ actually being its products that when it gets into businesses where it actually has customers it really has little sense of how to deal with them. (https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-serf-on-googles-farm)
I paid Google directly; I am their customer. But they don't know what to do with user-customers, so they treat me like the kind of user-product that they're more familiar with.
Take with a grain of salt though. Pure speculations at best. Maybe they do just want device sales.
It's sort of like if Google sold a robot that happened to also steal money from your wallet. If they could get away with it, it'd be profitable for them, but there would still be something wrong with their behavior.
Mining your input and serving it to millions scales really well. As long as they can do enough to keep the majority of their users happy enough to continue using the product it is most likely more profitable to get the data than sell the devices given the market for android phones and the position they are in.
Google and their Pixel devices, not so much.
Since Jobs has passed, they've move away from defaulting to a 4-digit code, encrypted phone backups in the cloud, moved from 2-step to 2-factor id, added a secure co-processor (with touch-id), made numerous moves to disable tracking cookies in their browser. From my observations about Apple, if they don't care about something it stagnates or goes away. All of those requires research, put more onus on the user, or cost Apple more per device.
Trust is a funny thing and I think it's much easier to lose than to gain. So they could move in another direction in the future, but so far it seems like they're continuing with a focus on user privacy.
You paid real money for the hardware..
You have paid 0 for the use of Google's servers and their software. E.g. you enjoy their Maps app, you enjoy seeing real time traffic. You enjoy using Keep and let them host all your memos on it. You enjoy Photos and like that all your pics are in the 'cloud'. You enjoy......
You paid real money for the hardware yes, and it works with ur without your data. But another cost is your usage of their software...
Everyone does some type of calculus on this cost. I bought their hardware as well, and i don't sell my data to them.. at all.. However, I'm looked at by most of my friends and family as the eccentric privacy guy that runs tech stuff for them.
I run services mainly for myself, but many of my friends/family use them.. NextCloud for backups to a FreeNas and for sharing, ejabberd for chat, Piwigo for sharing photos &blog, davical for contacts and calendar, phabricator to share some of my programs, the all important email, and I've occasionally been conned into running a quake server.
I pay in time and convenience. I use and contribute to apps on Fdroid. I contribute when i can to the OSM project for mapping. I still have to use waze for traffic. And instead of having apps that siphon off my data, i simply go to their websites and check stuff (yelp and occasionally facebook), and yes, it's as painful as it sounds..
I know everyone can't do a lot of these, but a few services have popped up that do some of these for you for cheap, proton mail being the biggest (imo).. Running a mail server is the most challenging, in part because more and more people rely on the big providers for email, and in turn, those big providers are flagging lots if self hosted smaller email providers as spam. Outlook is really hard, i can even send email to an outlook account from a Comcast account and it gets flagged as spam..
So yes, unfortunately you aren't the customer, although you might feel differently and they've definitely marketed things in a misleading way. The truth of the matter is i highly doubt anyone reading this site wouldn't be able to do any of the above, and making it sound otherwise is folly. We all choose who and what to pay and what we pay with.
It's not even as much about privacy, as it is freedom. I was an avid google talk and google reader user, they walled off talk to hangouts and eliminated reader. Once you realize that it's better to have some self reliance rather than convenience, your world will change.
> unfortunately you aren't the customer, although you might feel differently and they've definitely marketed things in a misleading way.
That's a false distinction. I paid for the product, which includes the hardware and the software they decided to integrate. I'm their customer. However, Google will still try to trick me into shadow-working for them and give me no help when their system misbehaves, because they don't know how to deal with human user-customers.
Basically, not that "I'm not a customer" it's that Google treats its customers badly.
One could argue that your memory is terrible because you know you can rely on those services.
Smartphones have just made them a one-stop shop for all our external thinking now.
Memory is complicated and difficult. It can be trained, but we only have so much bandwidth for it. It's very nice to have automation to "remember" for us, so we can stop wasting that limited bandwidth on things that don't much matter, like details of our dinner experience, and save medium-term memory for more important stuff.
The question is, does that do them any good? It might help them in the rare case there's a problem with navigation data, but 99% of the time it's a wasted effort, and personally, I purposefully prefer taxis/transport services that use navigation.
My own opinion is that we should treat brain-memory as cache memory: store the things that are directly relevant to the important parts of our lives, to make ourselves better in those areas; otherwise, don't bother memorizing.
Yes, very much so. The road layout in London is absolutely insane, because the city was established in AD 43. Finding efficient routes requires a great deal of local knowledge and contextual understanding.
Black cab drivers are extremely good at minimaxing journey time. If they have a choice between a route that always takes 30 minutes or a route that sometimes takes 25 minutes and sometimes takes an hour, they'll usually choose the former.
They're required to memorise both routes and landmarks, so they're phenomenally good at fuzzy matching for destinations. If you ask to go to "that place where all the goths and weirdos hang out", they'll take you straight to Camden Lock. They have an uncanny knack for getting confused tourists back to their hotel, based on the scantest of descriptions in the most broken of English.
Uber has a role to play in London, but it's undoubtedly an inferior option. Black cab drivers are a part of the fabric of London and it'd be a tragedy if they were pushed out of business.
Even though I didn't have the correct name of the street (and didn't have the name of the restaurant at all!), the driver got the right street and the right restaurant. (The street had probably 10+ restaurants on it.) I was astonished, and have never forgotten it.
That's why I understand Uber has become popular but not all of my experiences with Uber have been so crash hot either.
Anecdotally, I used to have a phone with a really bad battery that I couldn’t be bothered to replace, so I was constantly running out of charge. I started training myself to look up directions on google maps, then memorize the next 5-10 direction steps and compete with myself to make it to my destination with the fewest number of map checks.
I continue to do that, because it’s done a few things for me:
- it’s fun and I get personal gratification out of my improved sense of direction and orientation
- driving/riding is much more engaging because I’m paying attention to my surroundings (looking for visual queues for my location) instead of just putting on music and turning on mental cruise control
- I travel a lot and feel a lot safer when I have a mental backup of where I am, in case I run out of data or if I lose signal, which happens from time to time
- I feel less attached to and reliant on my phone
To your point, it’s something I decided is worth my time and effort, if even just for the entertainment.
This can get tied to "muscle memory" as well. I'm currently going through a lot of this on guitar - two note per string pull-off exercises, in the interest of learning Eric Johnson style picking techniques. Much of the core of his playing is based on two notes per string, first the high note and then the low note. So deep muscle memory of that particular move helps me do other, larger things.
On the other hand, I can remember one meal I ate several years ago in great detail, because it had three of the best dishes of their type I've ever had (sashimi, pasta, and ice cream in one meal!). That meal mattered. But I'd have a hard time telling you what I ate last thursday.
Personally, my only gripe is that those technologies tend to heavily depend on cloud and SaaS, which make you a slave of the whims of a third party, that is unreliable and often doesn't have your best interest in mind. Those same tools could be equally empowering without that dependency.
I choose to describe them as "external brain" ("exobrain" is the term of the art now?) - "prosthesis" feels like it implies there's something wrong with it, and that you use it only because you have no other choice.
On the other hand, you're right that most people don't have that intuition and that "prosthesis" may not be effective communication. This particular issue disadvantages me compared to other humans and solutions to it help me recover basic functionality, but you're right that this technology is good enough that a run-of-the-mill human can benefit from it too. They just don't benefit as much as I do. So, hm, maybe I should switch to augmentative language over assistive. I'll think about it.
No, it serves Google.
There. Fixed it for you. You can’t deny the benefits it brings to the average person having all this information a (google) search away.
Similarly, recently I clicked to like a YouTube video while I wasn't logged in (I only ever log in to Google using a private tab since a few years because I'm just so fed up with the incessant nagging me to track and spy me).
So I forgot that I wasn't logged in and clicked the like/heart button. You know what it said to me?
"Sign in to make your opinion count."
Yeea, that wasn't accidentally worded badly. It's just too much of this shit every day all day, I no longer believe they actually meant to say "Sign in so that we can count your opinion". No, this passive-aggressive bullshit permeates every pop-up and nag screen Google ever communicates to me and the message is pretty clear. The subtext of my opinion being worthless unless I allow myself to be tracked.
Same passive-aggressive shit goes on in Google Maps. Of course I have Location History turned off. Don't want to be tracked? We won't remember your recent search queries either. Because obviously they can only do that in the cloud or something. I remember back in the day when search fields that would remember recent queries first appeared, we used to call that "intelligent". Yeah it's a bit of a low bar for intelligence, but guess what the world's leading AI company can't do it unless you allow them to track your physical location. Can't? More like "won't".
They want to sell me as data, but every step along the way, they try and make me feel like an insignificant little insect. It's not an actual transaction like "I give you data, you give me 'free' service", you can't negotiate really, and if you dare to even try they will basically bully you.
If, like some people try to argue, we are really "paying" for Google's services with our attention and/or private tracking data--it's more like emotional extortion / blackmail, than it's a business transaction.
Ultimately it’s the consumer’s choice whether you want to buy your personal mobile device from a company that makes+sells phones for a living or from a company the sells ads for a living (no bad feeling against ads) and also makes+sells phones on the side to augment those ads.
I get that all those services are helpful to someone who's easily distracted, but I'm afraid using them is the last thing that's going to help your memory. It just makes you more dependent.
Personally I prefer not to use Google's auto-complete, I can spell just fine thank you. We're bloody human beings, we're supposed to be like the smartest thing on this planet, don't we?
I like to see other people's reviews so I like to provide some myself. Quid pro quo.
You can of course turn off this feature but then you're missing out on a lot of what Google can give you.
This seems to be about lack of control. It's good for developers to think carefully before they ship products that do things with no way of being told not to.
EDIT: Welp. Apparently these settings exist.
I don't understand the point of the blog post then. Why is it so upsetting, if you have the ability to turn it off?
The controls exist.
I admit though, as a user of the data, I find this very helpful. Google is absolutely brilliant at give real time traffic information to roads and businesses. You want to know if Costco is busy right now, they'll tell you. Accident getting there going to cost you 5 minutes, they'll tell you that too.
But it's easy to stop collecting and/or delete location data; see https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3118687
I'm not sure the original author knows that they can be turned off.
... or perhaps (if I'm being less charitable) the original author doesn't care; they don't want to be asked in the first place, ever (and are a touch naive about exactly how it is Google Maps gets the data it can vend to end-users).
They should complain to the store staffer or make some effort to find out what those settings the are enabled actually do.
Yah. I disabled Google Maps tracking, then Google Search started notifying me about places I was near.
He agreed to location tracking when he first set up the phone because the first run setup explicitly asks whether he wants that on or off.
... as a wise man once observed, people talk a long game about how important their privacy is, but then empirically, researchers continue to discover you can get people to divulge a lot of personal information for a Snickers bar, if not less (survey-takers who just stand around in malls and ask people to fill out clipboards are an example of this---and while they are a dying breed, they're a dying breed because it's cheaper now to collect that information online, not because people have gotten cagier about divulging it).
I do find Google's level of data collection a bit creepy, but I also don't see how they could reduce the amount of data they collect without reducing the quality of their service.
They actively prompt users to review their privacy settings.
Because people like to complain. Especially when they're getting a free service (as in money).
The distinction between allowing an app to use location while the app is open versus anytime.
Android makes no distinction between these two states, which opens up the ability for many apps (not just Google's) to enable automatic stalking mode. Take Yelp, for example. I do want it to be able to access my location so I can easily lookup restaurants nearby. However, on Android, once you give Yelp the location permission, it'll start popping up notifications about things near your current location, which is just creepy. On iOS, you can restrict it to only be able to see your location when using the app, which is what I want for most apps.
On a related note, Google has created a tool that allows you to see all the data they have on you (and delete it if you want). Because of the way I set up everything and my habits, they had virtually nothing on me. The only stuff I think were some chats from years and years ago and a few searches I did while not in incognito mode on my phone. I also don't use any of their apps from their main product suite - no search, email, chat, drive, etc. And I never leave myself logged in to my account on anything. I don't think this reduces my productivity or quality of life at all. In fact, quality of life is almost certainly improved.
For a suburban user that occasionally uses driving directions, this delay probably isn't an issue. For an urban user who is frequently using maps, location-based searches, ridesharing apps etc, it's a total dealbreaker. If I'm the kind of person who often says "OK Google, where's the nearest coffee shop?", I don't want to have to turn on GPS and wait for a location fix before I get a useful answer.
GPS is also the biggest battery hog on the device.
I'd be surprised that this is true. I used several battery monitor apps on several phones, and never found this to the case. It's a simple receiver, and doesn't require much power to do so. If you find a correspondence, it may be more likely that the power is actually being used by the apps that are using GPS, rather than the GPS itself: http://alienmantech.com/blog/android-disable-gps-save-batter...
Something is, but I find it very hard to believe it's the GPS itself. It's, after all, a completely passive system. What eats battery is transmissions and computation; with GPS, the first doesn't happen, and there isn't much of the second either.
I guess what happens is (on some phones; I've kept GPS always active on my Galaxy S4 and S7, and never noticed a difference) having GPS active makes various services run in your system, which may or may not be poorly written / poorly integrated with phone's power management.
The GPS is only going to use significant battery power when it is acquiring or actively calculating fixes. No device or OS vendor would ship software that burns the GPS at all times--your device's battery wouldn't last more than a few hours.
The grandparent is totally incorrect about the GPS being the biggest battery hog on the device. Not even close, unless you are, 24 hours a day, navigating or running some other application that requires continuous (1 second duty cycle) GPS fixes. Even then, your backlight is likely consuming an order of magnitude more power.
How do you measure this? At least on the android devices I've used I've never seen a line item in any metrics that shows GPS as a thing, at all, nor have I noticed any location based app being generally in the top 5.
For me the battery consumer is screen time.
As to why I leave it on, I like it - I like the hot notices about things in my area, and I use navigation quite a lot as Waze's traffic re-routing ability is useful to me.
It's amazing - people like different things!
Most of the time it picks up my location from WiFi, which is a lot lower power.
iPhone gives you lots of controls around location history, and certainly there is nothing in the iPhone ecosystem where they want you to contribute reviews or human analysis to help them with gathering data. I trust that these controls work. My cell phone provider knows where I am to route calls, but I trust that they aren't also keeping the data for fun / marketing / etc.
The suggestion that it couldn't happen on other devices is certainly at odds with technical capabilities; the suggestion that it isn't happening is a different one entirely, and is not crazy.
That's like saying a transistor radio needs to know where broadcast antennas are, which is obviously absurd.
But even just the connection cell tower number is enough to determine whether or not you're at home or work.
If it does not do this, it is not a cellular phone. There are other types of portable phones that don't work this way, like cordless landline phones (the base doesn't know where it is, just that it's plugged into a phone jack) or satellite phones. But the "cellular" part refers specifically to dividing up the terrain into cells, finding which cell the phone is in, and assigning it to a tower based on that determination.
(This is all pretty irrelevant to the point I was making above that cellular network operators can easily choose not to use the location information or signal strength information for anything other than routing calls, and that deciding that they can just use the information however they want would be creepy.)
That "approximation" is: "Which cell towers can hear your phone transmit, and how strong is the signal?" Your cell phone would work just as well as a phone if you disabled the GPS chip, but your location can be estimated by triangulating from signal strength. It's not nearly as precise, or as accurate, as a GPS-provided location would be, of course.
The context of this thread is Android and Apple's tracking of location history and I'm just trying to stay on topic. Not without downvotes, natch.
This isn't Reddit, I'm not an idiot, and I know how cellphones work. Try to be more charitable.
Perhaps because that was never asserted.
> Your cell phone cannot function without actually knowing where you are (to some approximation) at all times.
Cellphones are called cell phones because they divide the world into location-based cells which determine which antenna your phone talks to. At the very least, the telephone company knows which cell you are located in to communicate with you.
Google gives me a dashboard with everything laid out they track and not aware of anything like that from Apple?
I am probably unusual as love the data as need to refer to it to remember stuff for expense reports and such. We also have Google homes in our house and GW and I carry a pixel 2 XL and an iPhone but feel like Google is properly giving me a choice.
Btw, it is next to impossible to cancel our cable but Google procatively gives me a link to what they track and make it very easy to delete if I desire.
In fact if there's any relation wouldn't it be the reverse? If you're using the location data unethically, you wouldn't want to draw attention to the fact that it's being gathered.
So I don't see this as about whether the provider has "good" or "bad" intentions; I see this as about whether the provider asks me for permission/consent before using my data. It's certainly theoretically possible that a provider is good at talking the talk and also being actively malicious, by asking for permission and then ignoring it or something, but that's not the problem I have or the article's author has with Google.
Google does explicitly ask you for permission to do this. And whenever someone in this thread points that out, someone replies with some variation of "yeah, but they probably do it anyway". Well...OK then I guess. There's not much of a conversation that can happen after that, but you do you.
My location history is blank, and set not to gather more data, but I still got those notifications, until I turned them off earlier today. I suspect that one of the times I turned on location, that it asked to also "activate Google Location Services to improve accuracy", or something.
> someone replies with some variation of "yeah, but they probably do it anyway".
My variation is "I've checked the 3 places I know to look, and I'll have to watch the New Features lists of future OS releases to find all of the things I'd like to opt out of."
... but as a result, they are, perhaps, unable to deliver the product Google can. Consider [https://www.justinobeirne.com/google-maps-moat; previously discussed in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15965653]
... which is fine; Apple doesn't need to be in the business of providing the best mapping software available on a smartphone. But Google appears to be in that business.
Unless you can find concrete evidence that Google publicly
and directly makes this data available to others, how is this a violating of your privacy? In using the device with the GPS enabled, you are agreeing that the device can know and use this data.
Why am I agreeing to that? For what purposes can they use the data?
As in your example - it's not about whether they know the data, it's about what they do with the data and whether they have my permission to do things with it. It is obvious to me that a website has permission to send reply packets to my IP. It's somewhat obvious that it has permission to keep short-term logs for technical debugging, with strict access controls and audits (stricter if it's something like an adult site that would be embarrassing/sensitive if it leaked). It's definitely not obvious that they have permission to share the IP internally for the employees' amusement, even leaving aside external sharing.
It's the same with location services on my phone - it's obvious that if I have GPS on, and I open the map app of my choice, and it says "This app would like your location" and I say yes, I want that app to have my location. It's also obvious that I want the cell phone towers to be able to route calls to me. It's not obvious that I want the company that happens to write my phone's OS to use my data for marketing / profit purposes.
I suppose it's theoretically possible that an app like Yelp could do that, but iOS pops up a "Do you want to allow this app to track your location when you're not using it?" notification whenever an app wants to do so, and of course that's always an instant push of the "hell naw" button for me.
This whole post just gets sillier as it goes. It's dire and creepy and "robotic" for Google to acknowledge that your phone, the internet, and their business are machine-driven, and to be open + straightforward about the fact that said machines can make good use of your human judgement + opinion, for the benefit of other humans? They need to "soften this blow"? Really?
Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services
Then turn off everything in the Product Improvement section, turn off Significant Locations and anything else in there you don't want.
The blog author freaked out because Google is trying to crowdsource info about a place from people who are actually visiting it, which they know because their phone has location tracking. I think the author might want to step back and think about everything his phone can do before getting worked up over this one minor aspect.
Privacy is the capacity to define, have respected and defend, boundaries on personal intrusions. Google and other surveillance capitalism companies expressly fail to allow such limits to be stated, and silently change settings, or subvert them.
... web portal that Sprint provides law enforcement to conduct automated “pings” to track users. Through the website, authorized agents can type in a mobile phone number and obtain global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the phone.
They allow network-based location (like signal triangulation), where the location needs to be withing 100 meters for 67 percent of calls and 300 meters for 95 percent of the calls, and handset-based navigation (like GPS) where it has to be within 50 meters for 67% of calls, and within 150 meters for 90% of calls.
Within those guidelines, I think that the phone provider can propose methods to use and have them approved by the FCC. But I guess whether your "precise" location gets tracked depends on the level of precision you're thinking of.
There is a common misconception that GPS is some sort of surveillance system that can return the position of a receiver.
And in the future, with the Librem phones, we’ll also be able to ensure there is no tracking on the device side.
What happens if they get a law enforcement request with warrant/subpoena? I bet the data is there to be delivered. If they aren't _very_ intentional about scrubbing it, it's maybe there in some historical logs too.
(And, for what it's worth, Apple has fought against a valid subpoena for iPhone data that they did technically have the capability of answering.)
I am pleased that the publicity (mainly from Snowden release) has led some businesses to fight subpoenas and/or warrants in court. I definitely don't count on them to keep doing it, pretty easy for them to silently comply (even _without_ a warrant/subpoena) without publicity, as most everyone has generally done until recently (and I suspect still does often).
Also, if you fight in court and lose in court, pretty sure any company will of course hand over the data at that point.
Under current German and EU law, they can only keep logs as long as technically necessary. If a warrant, specific to me, personally, exists, they can collect future connection info. And I’m okay with that – requiring a warrant specifically to be written for me, specifically signed by a judge, and in a way that they can’t be rubberstamped is okay, and about the level of surveillance that is a reasonable tradeoff.
The law notwithstanding, minimizing personally identifiable information in logs actually requires intentional and positive action (meaning additional hours/expense). If you just let all your systems produce what logs they do by default, get backed up if they happen to get backed up, etc. -- you will have quite a bit more logging bits sitting around than you probably realized or intended or needed. Is it more than is "technically necessary"? I am not sure what that phrase means legally or practically. But I doubt that law has actually resulted in companies spending significant additional staff time minimizing logs they didn't really mean to be keeping int the first place. It is not a trivial operation.
This is Germany – the place where the requirement for websites to contain a working contact address in the real world is enforced not through law, but through people just suing every website owner whose site doesn’t have an imprint.
The ISP is only keeping as much as absolutely necessary, because every bit more would be an unnecessary legal liability. Personal data is a liability, not an asset.
Of course, there’s also companies with different viewpoints, but this one doesn’t keep any more than absolutely necessary.
A) I walk into a store, get a notification from google photos asking me "I see you're at store X, wouldn't you like to take some pictures?". Possibly to use as part of google maps. Thinking back I think this is when I started de-googlifying my life.
B) I get a notification from google maps asking me "you're travelling to place X soon, wouldn't you like to download an offline map, just in case you don't have connection there?" Google must have learned that because I had the plane ticket on gmail.
But besides that, I think the "payment" you get in return is the quality of Google Maps itself. Features like being able to tell when a restaurant is most busy can't realistically exist without automatically collecting data about users who are visiting it throughout the day.
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I find data collection of that sort -- where the data is directly being used to improve the product -- acceptable. What I find much more unacceptable is tracking for the purpose of showing ads. Although companies try to say they're "improving the experience" by showing targeted ads, I'd rather not constantly be bombarded with things that are engineered to extract as much of my attention as possible. (yes, I realize location tracking is used to target advertisement, which is why I keep location services enabled and block ads)
Disclaimer: I work for Google (but not on Maps)
Never work for free.
The help page has this vague statement saying "Those points lead to higher levels of the program, as well as benefits like early access to Google features and special perks from partners"
Obviously covering their backs because "special perks from partners" could mean anything
When you're "deleting" things from services like Google Drive, it's better to think of what you're doing as "hiding things from yourself". It's unlikely that Google actually deleted that data in a way that prevents them from accessing it.
For case B we can see where scraping all this information can be genuinely useful.
Most people don't, but it's a game of numbers. If everyone gets the notification, then 0.01% start taking photos and populate Google Maps with the largest, live-est dataset of restaurant and business information in the world. Then all the consumers get access to this information in a nice format in their phone when it matters.
That's supposed to be the deal. Google is banking on this not being insanely annoying to most people, which, maybe is where they have miscalculated and made an error.
I wonder if Matt Cutts is still shilling for Google, talk about losing respect.
Matt Cutts has actually posted several times recently about things that irritate him about Google products. He still uses them though, of course.
I did not sign up for any product promotion notifications, so if I receive any it's spam.
I did out of curiosity after I answered a few questions, and sincerely regretted it. The notifications and junk e-mail were never-ending until I blocked them all. And my time is not worth that little.
You may not have to stay subscribed, but that's true in a sense for most junk mail.
Some Google products are stupidly designed, but this one looks like it's doing the right thing.
From these, the "Your contributions" seems to have the majority of toggles that people are discussing in this thread (e.g. "Adding your photos", "Contribution ideas", "Questions about places", etc.).
The industry has to figure out how to deal with privacy concerns, because a digital assistant which is continuously aware of your location and what you're doing will be tremendously useful. It's a little friend in your pocket that we won't be able to imagine living without.
Traffic jam ahead? Got you covered.
Can't remember someones name? I've got it here.
Need to remember the name of that great you discovered last time you were in this area? Got it here.
Looks like you need an ambulance.. it's on the way.
Privacy issues abound, but possibilities are endless and people _want_ these features. At present many of the benefits from a smart phone that we have become accustomed to are only possible because of data harvesting. Perhaps as hardware continues to evolve, and these features commoditized we can convince organizations that we will actually pay for the services if we can have greater control over our data.
Thanks for sharing your views on what is "creepy". Not everyone agrees (as can be seen from the comments) and I have a feeling that what feels creepy today will seem normal tomorrow, but your concerns are valid.
No, it's not. Google is entirely incentivised to extract the maximum amount of value from those reliant on their services, and the level of dependence is proportional to how much much they can potentially make off you. This is how a company works, and this is fine, but it is very dangerous to imagine that Google has anyone's best-interest at heart except their own.
a) No, it's not what people want. It seems convenient in concept and even in practice, until the moment they encounter something that makes clear to them just how much a third-party companies knows (and can divulge) about their life, and they immediately start trying to turn this stuff off.
b) It's not what people need. The fact is most of these services are problems looking for solutions, and offer an overabundance of data for a user who simply does not need it and can't use it. Traffic jam ahead? Thanks for the heads up but not like I could modify my plans or route, so that's useless. Can't remember someone's name? What, am I going to take a picture of them and then whisper 'hey google who is that person' discretely into my phone? Need to remember the name of that great (elided) last time you were in the area? Chances are you could just look it up and in the process discover other interesting things - and I'm not even sure what you mean here, like, is Google going to show me a list of everyplace I went when I was there?
Why do you think so many so-called personal assistants just keep getting used for the same thing? How many things need to tell me the weather today, or traffic conditions?
c) These things don't work and what you're essentialy are advocating for is that we give up our privacy and personal data in exchange for broken systems (sorry, "growing pains" - nevermind Google's been pitching these things for years and they're still mostly used to set timers and answer silly trivia questions - poorly) that may someday offer something we don't need (see a and b). That's a garbage deal if ever I heard one.
I think you want people to want these features because they comport with your idea of the future. But the fact is reality is not playing out like that.
The reality is that their products are the best because they are able to crowdsource the masses for practically free.
Google Maps- How do you think they are so good with traffic and or know when a place is busy?
[Google admits it tracked user location data even when the setting was turned off](https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/21/16684818/google-location...)
Tensorflow- All those captchas you had to type and click? Yeah they were used to digitize books and build an amazing clean image dataset.
[Google Inc. Acquires Carnegie Mellon Spin-off ReCAPTCHA Inc.](https://www.cs.cmu.edu/news/google-inc-acquires-carnegie-mel...)
Some of it may be unethical, because they do not do a great job of explicitly stating what they do with your data, but some of it may be for the greater good.(intentions are not bad.) An example is traffic. I think in this case, I would like them to know so that they can warn/tell others, to save others time.
It is the wild wild west when it comes to data privacy laws in the U.S compared to the E.U, because there are none and (currently) it is easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.
Seriously, Google, amongst the vast trove of information you hold on me/my IP address will be “in Britain”, so maybe try writing in British English rather than using a word that 90% of us won’t understand.
So "Creepy, but not SO creepy that I won't trust them to vend code that I'll direct my readers' user agents to download", then. ;)
That's an excellent term!
Also, I can't favorite this comment for some reason. The link is missing.
edit: I guess replying fixed it?
I understand that certain types of people are attracted to certain topics but it's still somewhat jarring when in a technology discussion board there is this amount of anti tech sentiment.
This feature is useful, it puts that data gathered to a good use, and it's upfront about it, if you don't like it just swipe the notification away.
Don't be fooled, the iPhone is gathering the same type of data it just only snitches on non system apps doing so in the background. Not to mention that it looks like they don't put that data to good use which as far as I'm concerned is the greater sin.
There's an implied deal that the user will provide their data to Google so they may profit from it, and in return they will provide you with a service free-of-charge. The article, and some anecdotes here in the comments, indicate that Google can be a little needy and tone-deaf in prompting the user to provide them with even MORE data, at times. Instead of passively collecting data, they appear to actively prompt the user to feed their machine, which is very annoying and creepy in the author's opinion.
I get that they're trying to get everyone to chip in for the common good but not while I'm literally driving, please.
Another thing is that every time you start using an Android phone, all Google sync services are activated. So you have no chance to disable them until its too late and Google uploaded all your contacts into their cloud. That should be illegal.
I've contributed some images to the photo request. They end up appearing in Maps as the picture of the establishment.
So something is wrong there (at the very least that they are tracking us all).
If only Google made it ridiculously easy to disable this. Oh, wait, it does:
The device should think for you, not against you.
But yes, you should think of the consequences of signing up for a service that clearly states that it records your location history.
One thing that seems to help is that, when I get a new phone, I turn all this stuff off before connecting to anything or even putting in a SIM card. So Google never gets a chance to control the phone's connections to the outside world.
The specific feature in question here is part of Google Maps and can be disabled in the preferences pane of that app. For one of various reasons I could speculate this particular setting doesn't persist across devices, so if I get a new device (or, sometimes after an OS update) I will have to go back and disable it again. It makes me angry every time.
Such as dictating new text messages in Android auto. Boggles my mind how they could legitimately need by web history for that, especially since replying to text messages works.
As this was downvoted last time I made this statement, and claimed to be a lie, this time I took screenshots on a Nexus 5X running Android Oreo 8.1 official build, showing that this is the case: https://imgur.com/a/AVmLN
Android without Google works quite well. Better than with Google.
I also look at it that rather my data be at just one company as much as possible and have chosen that company to be Google.
I just trust Google a lot more then say my cable provider to not sell my data to a third party. Fully aware Google is going to use to Target ads.
You can disable them in Maps settings (or disable Maps app altogether).
It's nowhere near as creepy as find my device, which everyone seems OK with.
However, there are bad apples in society, seeking shortcuts through taking from others and harming them. And there are guardians in society, constantly looking for vectors that a baddie can cause harm to protect them.
One emerging vector is the combination of market data to target individuals for threat and harm. E.g. you piss someone or a group off, whether by insulting them, simply the act of driving or eating meat, supporting a political party they don't, etc. Then, that person or group purchases batches of insufficiently anonymized marketing data, combines them to narrow down to your profile and uses it to hunt you down.
E.g. restaurants. Someone could buy location, restaurant and driving data, filter by several clues they discover about you, then stake out locations where you'll be.
Now that I've explored the personal-revenge factor, consider a different type of threat: economic survival. An adversarial corporation could use details about your psychology gleaned from timing information, nutrition profile, age, DNA/race, internet comments to influence you and larger groups in unethical ways, such as encouraging you to live unhealthy lifestyles, presenting carefully selected news items - not to harm you necessarily, but to perpetuate their own gain at your cost.
And this doesn't even have to happen to you personally. It can happen to targeted groups estimated to have vulnerabilities in any domain: middle-class, new home-owners, teen-agers. And the baddies' efforts all increase in efficacy the more information we leak.
So stop giving away all your information!
... but I can't follow why one would then continue to use Google Maps.
... or a phone running an OS that Google writes and maintains.
... or, in the case of this particular blog-post, https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/webfont/1.6.26/webfont...
So, if someone is using Google products, why are they freaked out about this?
Most of these apps are system and not-deletable unless you root your phone, there are maybe free but not optional for most of them...
Speaking of: Why does Siri (mother of all bitches) thinks she needs my GPS in order to tell me the weather??