Dark patterns can take up many masks when it comes to anonymously controlling your data, and “misdirect” you into believing that you’re in total control.
For instance, did you ever think Google can still track you even if you turn location services off using the settings on your phone? I hate to break it to you, but it’s true.
AP News has confirmed that Google does track your location for its Maps, Google Search and Weather even if you have turned Location services off. And toggling that location icon on the notification panel will only stop Google from making location timelines. In other words, only hiding location history from the plain sight.
On the other hand, Google says, “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”
Let’s take a deeper look at these “tools” and hopefully stop Google from tracking us anymore.
How to stop Google from tracking you completely?
1. Go to your Android device settings
2. Scroll down to Google Settings
3. Tap on Google Account to review all your Google account and settings
4. Then go to Data and Personalization
5. Scroll down to Activity controls
6. Turn off Web & App activity and Location history
If you want to delete any past location activity, head over to My Activity and look for specific entries which have location pins beside them.
While toggling Web activity will right away stop all Google services from storing your activity, including location services, turning location history off will pause Google to store location stamps of the places you will visit.
And this is where Dark Patterns come in. Turning Web Activity off will not only stop personalized results and stop Gooogle from tracking you, but also hamper many Google services like Google Assistant.
In the past, Facebook and Google both have been accused of following Dark Patterns in their product design, making critical settings confusing. Even more, threatening users into loss of functionality if people don’t go these intrusive settings.