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Google still at it?

Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Google still at it?

My partner recently got a smartphone running android. Great bit of kit it seems and does all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
When trying to use google maps it keeps nagging about its location service. Now despite the fact the phone has GPS, google continues to nag that it wants to be able to give you a 'rough' idea of where you are by scanning the local wifi devices, reporting back to google (who collected all this from their street cars and then said they'd delete it) and get your approximate location from that - when GPS is far more accurate.
Two things stick out for me..
1) Whats the point if GPS is more accurate?
2) Why do they still have records of everyones wifi when they claimed they would delete it? - Seems to me more like they're trying to keep monitoring peoples wifi using peoples phones instead of their own cars.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Google still at it?

Your phone might have GPS, but I guess they want the data for wifi only devices like cheap tablets.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 23-09-2010

Re: Google still at it?

You supply the information and they make money from it.
If you swopped savings for information they'd be bankers.
Money for nothing businesses.
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Re: Google still at it?

it's not a scan of local wifi that I'm aware of.
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Re: Google still at it?

Yes it is - thats exactly what it claims it wants to scan - all the LOCAL wifi hotspots so that it can work out the phones approximate location.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Steve
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Re: Google still at it?

Quote from: Sprite
My partner recently got a smartphone running android. Great bit of kit it seems and does all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
  She wont have much fun with the phone when she realises that Apps want certain permissions like reading your SMS and stopping the phone from sleeping amongst many other things once they are Installed.
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Re: Google still at it?

Google use it for the 'Latitude' service they offer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Latitude
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MJN
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Re: Google still at it?

GPS often doesn't work too well indoors due to signal attenuation and multippath propagation hence wifi and cell tower enabled location finding can often be helpful. Uses less battery power too given they're already active. If you don't see any benefit just disable it .
David_W
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Re: Google still at it?

Location based services are not really evil, it would be really, really useful if your phone was stolen (you'd know where the phone was).  If you use Facebook and posted on your phone "wow, just saw an original livery HST!" with a photo, it would give a rough location of where you are.  Want to find a nearby store that sells halal foods?  It needs your location to find the information, it can get that information from GPS but it needs your permission to locate you. 
It's 2013, we're living in an increasingly connected world where your real life presence is being tied to your online presence in new and interesting ways, it's technology moving forward and it's of more interest to youngsters who enjoy putting their entire life on the internet via facebook, twitter, blogs.  Heck, it's something I would happily use, turn GPS and location services on to upload roads I take on my motorbike, finish my ride, bring up the ride on the internet and point out bits of the road that are nice, or not nice (one particular road in Monmouth would be horrific, first time I rode on it I felt I had a flat tyre because the road was so bad).
Then you get games, interesting games can be made using location services, one from memory is a zombie game.  You start the game and the GPS finds you, then it randomly plonks zombies into the map, you have to get from A to B without being caught by the zombies, which can only work if the game has access to your location.  Then we get into the world of Artificial Reality which promises to be amazing, imagine holding your phone up to an AR Card in a shop window, the phone can convert that into an AR image or set of images, you could read through the entire stock of a local book store simply by standing infront of it with the GPS knowing your location (so it knows which cards are in the area) and pointing at the AR card.
As for Wi-Fi, Google wouldn't need your permission to use information on nearby Wi-Fi stations, when you turn GPS on, on a phone, it can use GPS or A-GPS (which triangulates your position using nearby towers, guessing your location based on that) or... known stations near you, what Google *does* need permission for is to use your location, that is the service, it doesn't need your location to pin point you on a map, it does need your location to provide local stores, offers, services, events etc. as they need to be processed by Google to provide you with the information required and so falls under the remit of the Data Protection Act.
Anyhow, in 10-20 years all the youngsters now will be in their 30's and 40's and won't think twice about location based services, it'll be ubiquitous, the same way we don't think about CCTV cameras but probably moaned about privacy issues when they first started to pop up.