• 2 minutes • 2019-11-16
    Moving away from Google Maps [Series]

    Google Maps is very convenient and accurate. It helps us with finding places and it is an integral part of the Android operating system.

    This is part of a series of blog posts, outlining my efforts to no longer use Google products

    Completely removing Google Maps and the related tracking functionality is near impossible. The Android operating system regularly reports back to Google servers the location of your phone, as well as your activity (walking, driving etc.), whether you like it or not.

    After I uninstalled all the updates for Google Maps, I set the application to not auto update. However this does not stop the tracking. I switched off the Location/GPS option from the settings and only enable it when it is absolutely necessary. Sadly, even if you use a VPN service, it will not help you because the location service utilizes the GPS feature of your phone and not the Internet one.

    On my Android phone, I had to go to the settings -> Google Settings. I chose the Google account and then chose Data & Personalization. In there you can find the Web & App Activity option, where you can disable the feature. That of course does not mean that Google will not track you….

    As a replacement for the Google Maps, you can use Bing and its embedded map feature. However I found an application called HereWeGo which is based on open source projects such as Open Streetmap.

    The application is available not only on the web (desktop) but also for Android and iPhone users. It is very easy to work with and can offer directions for driving, cycling, walking etc. It even offers options for calling Lyft for you. Finally there is a feature to download maps for a particular area before hand saves time and data.

    Conclusion

    There is no real way to get rid of the tracking from Google, unless you end up with a Jack Bauer phone or buy the Librem 5 which is maturing with every new release.