In order to use Google Maps, you have to turn on the location data. There is no surprise here, as all the other navigation apps work similarly to offer navigation features.
However, Google’s way of handling location data has always been under a shadow of a doubt. Researchers, a few years ago, found out that Google went onto collect user’s location data, even after they denied such permissions.
Fast forward to now, 9to5Google reported Google Maps users on Android and iOS are seeing a new prompt. This prompt titled “How navigation data makes Maps better” gives permission to the app to crowdsource user’s navigation data. FYI, the prompt started appearing for Google Maps users starting today.
Just to make things a bit worse, turn-by-turn navigation won’t work unless you agree to this new prompt. Notably, the new prompt pops up when you hit the “Start” button on the directions page.
The prompt says, “As you navigate, Google collects details, such as GPS location and the route you took. This data may be used to make information, including real-time traffic conditions and disruptions, visible to others and help them find the fastest route.”
If you don’t agree, then you won’t get turn-by-turn navigation with voice feedback
Along with the location data, Google Maps makes use of other sensors on your device, to give you real-time navigation information.
Google reported back in September 2020 that it recorded over 1 billion kilometers of drive in a day on Google Maps. This huge amount of data allows Google to show alternate route options, provide traffic status, estimated time, and turn-by-turn navigation.
But now, if you do not agree to the prompt and allow Google Maps to use navigation data, then you won’t get a turn-by-turn navigation feature with voice feedback.
Users will be simply shown step-by-step directions, as a list. If you want more information on this, you can check out the official ‘Learn More‘ document here.
If you are not comfortable sharing your navigation data with Google Maps, you can opt for other navigation alternatives. However, there is no surety if you won’t be tracked by someone else.
To put it simply, by crowdsourcing navigation data, you are using smart traffic features on a free and modern navigation application.
Google notes that none of the navigation data is associated with users’ Google Account or devices. Even so, one would always have doubts regarding it based on the company’s history of data handling.