Google continues to update itself on privacy towards Apple, as we’ve seen in the new Android 12 privacy options.
However, the reality is that Google is the largest data-based advertising company in the world, while Apple is not. This difference is noticeable in the way they develop their apps.
The location data have been at the center of the privacy debate for years. First iOS and then Android gave us options to deny, limit, and approximate location data to the apps that want to access it.
But while we’ve denied location access to many apps on our iPhone, it’s clear that we can’t do the same with map apps, as they wouldn’t work.
While many iPhone users are loyal to Google Maps, Forbes found that the comparison between Google Maps and Apple Maps privacy labels is colorless.
The problem is that all data that Google Maps claims it can collect is tied to your identity.
That’s how Google works. Everything is connected to build your profile, your timeline. And while you can dive into your Google account settings to remove some of that data, most people don’t bother to do so.
Google minimizes these privacy risks by saying that “Google Maps is designed to protect your information. We provide controls to easily manage your settings and use industry-leading technologies, such as differentiated privacy, to keep your data secure. We continue to make Google Maps the best and most accurate way to navigate and explore the world, providing valuable information about local businesses, best-in-class search and navigation, and helpful features like the COVID layer and real-time occupancy information. ».
In the end, privacy is a strange topic when your entire business model relies on user data and targeted ads. When asked about privacy, Google points out that Maps can be prevented from collecting data on the iPhone by selecting an anonymous browsing mode.
Although, Google Maps’ incognito mode has a serious impact on functionality: there is no “commute,” location history, sharing, search history, autocomplete suggestions, offline maps, or “your places”.
Google is now in trouble with some of its top iOS apps. Your privacy labels are a nightmare compared to your competitors. A lot of data is collected, all tied to individual identities.
For its part, Apple is looking to establish itself as a privacy advocate, and while its competitor is Google, it seems to have the upper hand in this particular battle.
While Google Maps was superior to Apple Maps for a long time, the difference between the two services has narrowed in recent years. Many privacy-conscious iPhone users look to Apple Maps as a good alternative.