I’m sitting in my office, finishing up for the day and all of a sudden I get an alert on my phone…What was that!?
My phone proceeded to let me know that if I left then and there, it would take me 33 minutes to get to my house…wait, what the hell is going on here?
First of all, how does it know what time I leave work?
How does it know where I’m going?
How does it know how long it will take to get there??
I am completely freaked out. Anyone who knows me will tell you that my level of paranoia is high already and now my phone has turned into Miss Cleo on me? We can’t have this.
It turns out, having Google Maps combined with having Location Services enabled, allows the Google app to anonymously send real-time data back to Google.
Google uses this information being collected by every person who has this app and this service enabled to calculate the number of cars on the road, how fast they are moving, where the traffic is, etc. The more people with the app, the more accurate the data.
They also incorporate data from the Waze app (which Google purchased for $1 Billion in 2013) to paint a more complete picture of the traffic in the area that you are in. They use the data and create a history of traffic patterns as well to predict future traffic at specific times.
Personally, I am uncomfortable with having my movements monitored and recorded especially without my knowledge or consent (although I likely consented by using the app without reading anything). So the solution?
Opt out by simply turning off Location Services.