Thursday, August 29, 2019

Just when you thought Google couldn't get any more creepy.

Last night I was telling Mr S. that when I brought up Google Maps it offered me an augmented reality option that allowed you to explore an area. Which I was kinda excited about.

He says - Oh! Google has now started reading my text messages.

I'm like - what?!

He says - yeah... watch. When I ask what you want for dinner it pops up a message about near by restaurants, and if I say I'm on my way home it pops up a share location message.

So, I guess now you can't even have a text conversation without Google butting in. It's just so fucking creepy.


Ruth said...

Yesterday I was reading (on my ipad) the local birding reports, and was curious as to where a particular rarely sighted bird had been seen (in my county), and tapped the "see location on map" button, which took me to google maps to see the location. All normal. Except that when it opened google maps the app wanted me to enter in a "default home location" and a "default work location" and "any other default locations you regularly get directions to or from". I had to back out completely and try again to see the map point I wanted to see. And no, I didn't give them those locations. Though I imagine that if they really want them they already have them.

I've known for a while that they have the ability to auto scan your emails for words of their choice. The version most commonly used is a watch for the word "attach" or "attached" or the like, where by it pops up a "did you want to attached a file to this email?" bar. So in alot of ways I'm not surprised by the text messaging version.

she said: said...

Yeah - I agree. When I started hosting my own photos and ~not~ using my phone to take photos even I thought I was a little paranoid, but now it seems I wasn't paranoid enough. It's like living in a Google fish bowl where you are the zoo animal they watch for no reason at all.

Capital of Texas Refugee said...

Buy a copy of Textra SMS, use it, and dump Messages/Hangouts/etc.

It's all of five bucks usually, the cost won't kill you. :-)

Then make sure you're signed out of Google Maps.

During one of the updates in the past few months, Google Maps started to do an auto-fetch of your login token if you are logged into your device.

You can get rid of that for Google Maps by logging out of Google Maps.

The Google keyboard ("Gboard") also does snitchy things, and the alternative for that is to use AnySoftKeyboard ("ASK") and to install any special keyboards you need for it. The ASK implementation itself is open-source along with all of the add-on keyboards created by the ASK developer.

There are a few other nifty tricks, such as using a location spoofing app in developer mode, and I leave that up when I'm not actually needing the maps.

I just leave my developer mode spoofed location set to somewhere believable but kinda silly, such as the nearest strip club, and then I set the altitude to something completely stupid such as being 15k feet above it.

BTW, I don't expect these people to notice this absurdity, but fucking with the system definitely amuses the hell out of me. :-)

Also, do you Tor Browser on Android? You should, and there's a new version that lets you get rid of the clunky Orbot/Orfox outdated broken crap, but you really should replace your Spy Keyboard first.

Ruth said...

My husband and I both use Signal for text messaging, and have for a few years now. I used to use a different keyboard, but my phone was constantly resetting it when I wasn't looking and I got so frustrated that I finally gave up, switching keyboards when I wasn't expecting it was making typing very frustrating.

she said: said...

Those are all VERY good ideas. Thanks guys.