Techlicious: 5 Google Privacy Settings You Should Check


By Christina DesMarais for Techlicious

Technology lets us do some pretty amazing things, but seemingly harmless activities can raise security issues.

For instance, you might be surprised to learn how much information companies may have on file about you thanks to huge data mining systems that invisibly trace every click you make when surfing the Web. Or what about the fact that many of the devices we use today have built-in geo-tagging technology that records your location, which can then inadvertently be shared with others when you do things like upload photos to social media networks. And don’t forget that the cell phone you probably take with you everywhere also can be used by cellular carriers and mobile app developers to track your whereabouts.

In our recent story on the privacy risks of using technology, we called out some of Google’s products as potential privacy leaks. But Google also has some excellent tools you might not be familiar with that help preserve your privacy. Be sure to check them out.

#1 Opt out of Wi-Fi tracking

Every day millions of people around the world use location-based services, such as Google Maps for Mobile on a smartphone or tablet which can conveniently show you where you are and how to get to a destination, or show you nearby places. To improve the accuracy of such services Google uses Wi-Fi data broadcasted from wireless access points to anonymously collect the locations of laptops, cell phones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Since some people don’t like that idea, Google will soon be launching an opt-out service that will allow you to block Google’s ability to pinpoint your location using Wi-Fi. If you decide to use it location-based apps and services will still work.

While it’s not available yet, Google says this feature will be coming later this fall.

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This post is excerpted with permission from Techlicious.

PC Pitstop is proud to welcome our friends at Techlicious as guest contributors. Founded by consumer tech guru, Suzanne Kantra, Techlicious is your daily scoop on everything from the best new mobile phones and apps to holiday shopping guides to step-by-step instructions for protecting your privacy on the Internet.

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