Google recently got exposed for tracking a person’s location even when they explicitly tell it not to, with the controversy even prompting a lawsuit against it. Now a new study shared by Digital Content Next has found some more evidence of excessive spying by the search giant.
According to a paper titled “Google Data Collection,” an idle Android phone which has Chrome running in the background sends location information to Google a whopping 340 times a day. On the other hand, an iPhone with Safari open only sends data to Google if the owner is interacting with their device.
Google Tracking vs Apple Tracking
The research paper also found that Chrome sends almost 50 times as many data requests per hour to Google as Safari does to Apple. All-in-all, idle Android devices communicated with Google about 10 times more than Apple devices communicated with Apple servers.
While everyone knows that Google collects data, it’s still disturbing to find out just how often it does this even when an Android handset isn’t actively being used. What’s worse, the company can actually tie together the anonymous advertising data it collects with an individual’s personal info.
For instance, anonymous ad identifiers which collect activity data in apps and sites pass on device-level identification to Google, revealing a user’s real Google account in the process. Then there’s DoubleClick cookie ID which also tracks what a person does on websites.
Google has the power to connect the anonymous cookie to a user’s Google account if that user opens a Google app within the same browser. Apple takes the opposite approach, limiting Safari’s tracking abilities so advertisers can’t follow a person around from site to site.
It might be a good idea to stop Chrome from running in the background of your Android phone if you’re worried about privacy. You can also take a deep-dive into your Google activity and make changes to your settings here.