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New study shines more light on what Google collects and knows about its users

The tech giant says users are still in control and have the power to prevent data tracking

Photo (c) TARIK KIZILKAYA - Getty Images

Having written numerous articles about privacy issues with Facebook, Google, phone apps, and the like, nothing should surprise me anymore. However, when you find that more than five years of almost every move you’ve made has been archived, a few hairs are likely to stand up on your neck.

Let me explain.

Monday morning, an email landed in my in-box with the subject line “Your August in review.” It was from Google, saying “Your timeline in Google Maps helps you curate the places you've been. Look back on the past month and reminisce about recent trips and past places.”

Typically, emails from Google don’t get much of my time, but this one brought on a mixed rush of curiosity and concern.

When I clicked on the link, I was taken to Google Map’s timeline site where I was told that I had visited 397 places since 2013. Taking a deeper dive, I was able to find out the routes I had taken -- both driving and walking -- to get to all of those places, not to mention the time it took to get there, how long I was at each stop, and any photos I had snapped with my phone’s camera while I was there.

It didn’t stop there, either..... Read More