Google Settles Battle With Android Users Over Geographic Tracking

Google has resolved a class-action lawsuit brought by Android users over location tracking, according to papers filed Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose.

While Google and the smartphone users have agreed “on all material terms,” they have not yet signed a final agreement, according to court documents. Google and lawyers for the consumers plan to do so by the end of May, and seek preliminary approval from the court before June 29. Settlement terms have not yet been made public.

If ultimately granted approval, the deal will bring an end to a battle dating to 2018, when San Diego resident Napoleon Patacsil alleged in a class-action complaint that Google wrongly collects data about smartphone users' whereabouts.

Patacsil's complaint, later joined by other Google users, stemmed from an August 2018 Associated Press report that Google stores some location data -- like data gathered through its mapping service -- even when users attempt to keep that information confidential.

The AP specifically reported that even when the "Location History" setting is turned off, Google gathers some location data unless people turn off a separate setting -- "Web and App Activity." After that report came out, Google revised a “help” page by adding language informing people that turning off Location History doesn't affect other location services, and that some location data may still be saved.

The AP report also resulted in lawsuits by attorneys general who accused Google of misleading consumers about the collection of location information. Last year, Google agreed to pay $392 million to settle claims brought by officials in 40 states.

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