Having it available publicly, I think, would also spur carriers to increase their data coverage.
Of course, getting GPS data will be more accurate, but you should assume that it's unavoidable that the carrier can know roughly where all the phones are right now.
Don’t modern cell towers use beamforming? In which case they get direction as well as RTT, so triangulation is not even needed (although it makes location more precise)
However, it's a bit the opposite way around - it's not that they can use beamforming to get direction, but it's that they need to know the location before they can use beamforming - so the protocol (5g?) needs to require the device to know or obtain its location, and send it to the cell tower so that it can apply beamforming; similar to how in 3g the protocol includes measurements and adjustments of the timing advance so that the distance can be used when actually transmitting data. So it would be essentially like "the phone can't turn off GPS or transmitting it to everyone, because it needs it for the radio to work".
Of course, their definition of 'privacy' is 'making sure nobody but Google gets your data' so they wouldn't see any need to do so.
Google could totally do this properly if it really wanted to.
We'll probably see another one next week.
E.g., they make a camera designed for surveillance helpfully indicate to any burglars whether or not the owner might be watching them - but they don't change the actual capabilities of Google to watch.
They turning of location sharing for one feature that people would probably agree to share statistics with but keep the personal location history every android user gets by default untouched.
My overall sentiment is that any actively enforced regulation, is often used as a weapon against competitors, or as a weapon to racketeer money from a business.
(whether it is privacy, patent enforcement, copy right enforcement, nondiscrimination and so on).
Therefore, what's missing, generally, is the complimentary framework to to make sure that actively enforced policies are not abused.
I do not know how exactly those complimentary no-abuse laws would work, but I think they have to be part-and-parcel of every legislation, and should be voted for at the same time.
Without it, we do not have a truly 'fair competition and instead business compete on whose team of lawyers is more creative and more aggressive.
Giving this right to consumers is equal to taking it away. Carriers will simply make you sign a waiver on signup that lets them take whatever they want anyway.
You may think that market competition will weed those carriers out by my dollars voting elsewhere but I'm pretty sure it won't, at least not in my lifetime, if ever, given how many people gladly sign over not only their data but my data as well to places like Facebook every day.
Google wants to keep your data for themselves.
In this light, the wording of the headline is a nice PR win for Google. Makes me wonder if they perhaps wrote that headline themselves and fed it to the news services.