For fuck's sake, Google is not "secretly" tracking your location

Another day, another super-secret conspiracy exposed through the powers of social media. As the fearless sleuths of the Internet have discovered, Google is quietly tracking where you are!

3.8 million views for this stupid clickbait article, sigh
I'm not even surprised anymore that this started yet another wave of fear-mongering and whining.

Okay, here's a clue... it's a feature. A well-advertised feature. It used to be an easily accessible option in the old version of the Google Maps app, and anybody who had the sense to check their Google Dashboard would immediately see the "Location History" section.



Oh yeah, and you could check the system settings of your phone under "Location" to find the option to disable it:


Android phones even ask you when you boot them for the first time whether or not you want location-based services enabled.

It's actually a cool feature - I'm a sucker for data and record-keeping, so it's nice to have this information available. Also, you can choose to let Google Now use that information to make predictions for you. Every Tuesday before noon, for example, Google Now automatically tells me how traffic to the gym is, since that's where I'm typically headed at that time. You think it's creepy? Then turn it off and shut up.

Social media can be great and all, but it intensifies the problem of artificial mass hysteria, especially in this day and age where people cannot be bothered to do even the slightest bit of research and don't even read the comments of a post before writing something dumb of their own that was already refuted a few lines above. Some people apparently only have write-only access to the comment section.

Here is a pretty accurate recreation of a post I recently found. I don't even remember what it was about anymore because it was so fucking stupid:


Except in real life, there were 3 comments of reason to every 20 comments of bullshit. Which is scary, because now that any schmuck from the street can spread a rumor fact, what's out there on the web is less reliable than ever. At the same time, people are more and more complacent to take everything they read as fact. At least as long as it jives with their beliefs and opinions.

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