Everyone should already know that in this day and age, technology tracks everything you do. For example, let’s say you were shopping online for new Nike sneakers. But at the last minute, you decide not to. Then later in the day, you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, minding your own business and boom! A few ads show up for…Nike sneakers!
Coincidence? No. Data is king, and retailers have found ways to track your movements. How? Through online tools and apps, like Google.
Google is the mecca for finding any information you seek. They also have all those nifty apps, like Gmail or Google Maps. But Google isn’t giving this service away for free – they’re storing your location in their records.
One user discussed personal details in a recent article on CNBC, reporting the following:
“I recently performed Google’s “Privacy Checkup” to learn a bit more about what it knows about me, and was pretty surprised at the level of detail it had on my exact locations.
I picked a random date: April 16, 2019. It knew everywhere I went, including that I took Interstate 95 to our office in northern New Jersey and that I arrived at 7:58 a.m. It knew that at 1:02 p.m. I drove to Jersey City and took a train in to Manhattan to the New York Stock Exchange before returning home at 4:38 p.m. And it has a copy of the pictures I took at each location.”
“…to create a private map of where you go with your signed-in devices….We collect information about your location when you use our services, which helps us offer features like driving directions for your weekend getaway or showtimes for movies playing near you.”
While this may be appealing to some users, others may feel violated. But don’t worry! There’s a way to manually delete this information and reset your Google account.
- Login to myaccount.google.com/privacycheckup. Consider bookmarking this as well.
- Scroll down until you find “Location History” and click on “Manage Location History.”
- Here is where you’ll see all the places you have visited. Like, every creepy detail.
- Next, click the blue button at the bottom of the screen that reads: “Manage Location History”
- Use the little toggle button and switch Location History to the “off” position.
- If you are looking to completely delete the history, click the settings button on the “Location History” map.
- Select “Delete all location history”
You’re all set…almost.
There’s one final step you’ll need to take. Under the “Web & App Activity,” Google tracks your location from different apps in order to give “better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.”
To turn this section off, follow this link: Go to myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols and turn off the toggle.
Congrats! You are free from Big Brother *cough*—Google finding you.