back to article Google Maps gets Incognito fig leaf: We'll give you vague peace of mind if you hold off those privacy laws

After last year acknowledging that Google Maps stores location data even when told not to, the Chocolate Factory plans to give Maps the same misunderstood form of privacy offered by its Chrome browser, otherwise known as Incognito mode. "When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the …

  1. sbt Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The only way to guarantee information doesn't leak is to never know it.

    I get that this is apparently fundamental to their business model, but it's only a matter of time before Google has a data breach on the FaceBook/CA/Yahoo/Equifax scale, and then what's true for everyone else will be true for them (see title).

    Anyway, sooner or later folks are going to wake up to how little difference "targeting" advertising makes. If I just bought a mattress, WTF are you showing me mattress ads for? (I've heard, I don't see much advertising on-line). Not to mention the fake traffic issue.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Ah, targeted advertising

      Last week I bought a replacement UPS on Amazon, because the 10 year-old one I had had died. Guess what I have in my mailbox twice this week ? Of course, an email from Amazon suggesting that I might be interested in a UPS.

      I just bought one, you morons. Come back in ten years and you might be relevant.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Ah, targeted advertising

        It's AI but at the level of salesman's intelligence.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The only way to guarantee information doesn't leak is to never know it.

      Last year I bought a new smartphone, queue 6 months of adverts for new smartphones and daily emails from Amazon for new smartphones.

      This year we bought a new dishwasher on Amazon. Same thing. Months of emails and adverts for dishwashers.

  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    Fig leaf

    I'm not the best endowed person ever but even I would struggle to hide some of the floppy bits of my anatomy behind a fig leaf.

    I'm sure this analogy isn't lost on anyone.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: Fig leaf

      Why would you even try to hide your belly behind a fig leaf?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Big Brother


    I wonder how creative they can be with 'forget the last thing I said'? For some reason I'm reminded of Clevinger's trial scene:

    "Well, Metcalf, suppose you try keeping that stupid mouth of yours shut, and maybe that's the way you'll learn how. Now, where were we? Read me back the last line."

    "'Read me back the last line,'" I read

    "Not MY last line, stupid!" the colonel shouted. "Somebody else's."

    "'Read me back the last line,'" I read back.

    "That's MY last line again!" shrieked the colonel, turning purple with anger.

    "Oh, no, sir," I corrected. "That's MY last line. I read it to you just a moment ago. Don't you remember, sir? It was only a moment ago."

    (full quote here: )

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    won’t be saved to your Google Account

    uhm... I don't have a "google account". Tell me siri, should I worry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: won’t be saved to your Google Account

      It's ironic that the only way to prevent them (or FB or any of the rest) tracking you is to create an account so they can track your tracking opt-out

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Black Helicopters

        Re: won’t be saved to your Google Account

        I think you spelled "by design" wrong.

      2. GnuTzu Silver badge

        Re: won’t be saved to your Google Account

        Yup. And, there are times that I'm just not going to use a Google account. In fact, a good portion of my queries are going to be by way of privacy oriented services like Duck Duck Go and Open Street Map.

        Also, I make good use of Ghostery, EFF Privacy Badger, UTM parameter strippers, Self-destructing Cookies, and JavaScript blockers. It's a bit of work with all this, but it's very educational, learning just how much tracking is going on.

        Oh yes, most web sites optimize for Google by using UTM parameters in URL's. They're all over the place. So, you're being tracked even when you don't use Google directly.

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Why isn't public transport free?

      If you don't have a google account then it will be saved to your shadow account.

  5. _LC_ Silver badge

    Unless you need realtime traffic informations worked in ...

    ... stick to offline maps (OSMand or others on Android). You can have the whole world in your pocket this way, without accessing the Internet even once. Very convenient. :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a mo...

    So you are saying that despite going through all the 'location sharing' type options in both Maps and Google account and verifying the options show up as 'paused' or 'no activity', they are lying and ARE tracking me ?!?!

    (as an aside, I normally have GPS off and have noticed opening Maps always shows the last location used (via search or GPS) and prompts to turn GPS on)

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Hang on a mo...

      Your pants have slipped and your sarcasm is showing.

      Until these so called "Tech" giants (Trolls? Ogres?) are either having internal 3rd party audit teams or shut down or all 3rd party tracking banned along with ads that are only image + link we are not safe.

      It's been proven you can't trust what any of them say!

    2. RegW

      I normally have GPS/location-services turned off and only turn it on when I want to use my choice of non-google maps software. When I do turn it on - my choice of GPS only location has been forgotten (again), and Google Play Services is the last app to have used location services (again).

  7. ratfox Silver badge

    They'll offer anything you want as long as the default is that the data is stored. The vast majority of people will never change the settings.

    That said, it is definitely useful to me that my YouTube history is stored. That means that I will get suggestions for new videos in the channels I follow, and only new videos, not those I have seen already.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      YouTube history

      But it is completely unnecessary for them to store that information on their end. It can be done with a simple cookie and some JavaScript. The data never even has to leave your system.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of a dilemma here....

    Google Maps was one of the services I was willing to share location data with via the 'crowd sourcing' of progress information for the purposes of creating the traffic layer. Loosely this was done anonymously and as I didn't have to login to supply or consume this data I was generally happy. I don't doubt that Google has fingerprinted me for the purposes of anonymous data submission and by implication more nefarious processing of my location habits and combination with other data sets that can be inferred to be from me. I'm curious to know how if in any way Incognito Mode changes how anonymous users interact with the service. I can only assume that what Google gives from a privacy perspective on one hand, it takes away from the other.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: Bit of a dilemma here....

      Yes, I get some actual real benefit from Google tracking me / everyone in a way that I don't from GCHQ / NSA doing it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a joke

    goog/alphabet is in business to harvest and monetize PII. That is what they do. They bribe who they need to, are working on manipulating elections to get the politicians they want. There are no limits to what goog will do to preserve itself. If privacy laws in the US ever are a real thing, goog will move to their lovers home in china.

    1. G R Goslin

      Re: Its a joke

      Not quite. It was sagely pointed out a good few years back, By Dawkins, as I recollect, that organisations exist to exist. That is true from viruses upwards, bacteria lower forms of organised life, animals, insects, et al. Through to organisations, committees, associations, companies, governments. The actual purpose of many of these has long been submerged in the necessity to exist. Here, in the UK, that has been notably demonstrated with the irecent nsane posturing of all the organised political parties, and the environmental groups. Historically, we may similarly examine the actions of all organised religions. I could go on and on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: Its a joke

      Privacy laws in US ? Oh, you're so naive.

      By the way, unlike in the US of A (God bless'em) in China at least you know who's getting your personal information and for what purpose.

  10. JohnFen Silver badge

    What made me stop using Google Maps

    It was that "personalization" that drove me away from Google Maps, because it drove home the fact that Google was deeply interested in my location, and was sharing it with advertisers (directly or indirectly, it doesn't matter).

    This incognito mode thing is woefully insufficient in my view. While my trust in Google is precisely zero these days, even if that weren't the case, this wouldn't be enough to get me to use it again.

  11. NonSSL-Login

    Yet all the governments keep letting them get away with lying about what data they keep, so they will keep on lying and paying the pitiful (by their standards) fines.

    The fact they still have the Location permission in android needed for a bluetooth connection irks me too.

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