Google's App Store Privacy Labels: What They Mean for Your Data and Privacy

YouTube may be tracking your data like physical address, email address, name, phone number, and more.

Google's App Store Privacy Labels: What They Mean for Your Data and Privacy

YouTube collect data like search history to serve third-party advertisements

Highlights
  • Google search looks at your browsing history for third-party ads
  • Chrome doesn’t collect data to serve third-party advertisements
  • Google Maps, Google Photos havent updated their privacy labels

Google recently updated its privacy labels for a majority of its apps listed on App Store, following the revision in policies by Apple making it mandatory for all apps to divulge in their data sharing practices. These new privacy labels show up in every app listing on App Store under the App Privacy section and it details the kind of data that is tracked or collected by the app. It also gives you clarity on the purpose for which this data may be used like for serving third-party advertisements, for advertising and marketing its own products, for analytics, better product personalisation, or improving app functionality.

Google has a suite of apps on the App Store including Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Chrome. We take a look at the privacy labels of all of these apps on the App Store to let you know what they mean, and help you attain more clarity.

Google

For showcasing third-party advertising, the official Google Search app collects data like coarse location, search history, browsing history, and the advertisements you have viewed online. For developer's advertising or marketing such as displaying the developer's own advertisements in the app, sending marketing communications directly to you, or sharing data with entities who will display advertisements to you, Google additionally collects physical address, email address, name, User ID, Device ID, product interaction data, and advertising data. User ID details include name, handle, account ID, assigned user ID, customer number, probabilistic identifier, or other user- or account-level ID.

To get insight on analytics, and offer better product personalisation and app functionality, the Google Search app collects precise location, contacts, your voice or sound recordings, data you generate during a customer support request, crash data, and even performance data such as launch time, hang rate, or energy use. Analytics mean using data to evaluate your behaviour, including understanding the effectiveness of existing product features, plan new features, or measure audience size or characteristics.

YouTube

The video-sharing platform may be tracking your data like physical address, email address, name, phone number, User ID, and device ID across apps and websites owned by other companies. YouTube is also collecting your data like coarse location, search history, browsing history, physical address, email address, name, phone number, User ID, device ID, product interaction, and advertising data for offering better third-party advertisements. For its own advertising and marketing purposes, it may be additionally peeping at your purchase history as well.

YouTube could also be collecting your precise location, payment information like form of payment, payment card number, or bank account number, and sensitive information like racial or ethnic data, sexual orientation, pregnancy or childbirth information, disability, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, political opinion, genetic information, or biometric data for purposes like analytics, app functionality, product personalisation, and other not defined purposes.

Gmail

Gmail's privacy label on the App Store suggests that it collects your coarse location, your User ID details, and information about the advertisements you have viewed for third-party advertisements. User ID details includes name, handle, account ID, assigned user ID, customer number, probabilistic identifier, or other user- or account-level ID. It may be looking at your purchase history, coarse location, email addresses, photos or videos, audio content, device ID, app interaction for product personalisation, analytics, and improving app functionality.

Google Chrome

Chrome surprisingly doesn't collect data to serve third-party advertisements, according to its disclosure on the App Store. It uses information like coarse location, voice recordings, browsing history, crash data, performance data, user ID, device ID, product interaction, and payment information for analytics, product personalisation, and app functionality.

Google Docs, Google Drive

Google Docs and Google Drive do not collect data for third-party advertising as well. They collect data for analytics, product personalisation, and improving app functionality. For these purposes, Google Docs and Google Drive collect data like coarse location, email address, contacts, photos or videos, voice recordings, search history, user ID, device ID, crash logs, performance data, purchase history, and more.

Google Maps, Google Photos

Google has not yet updated the App Store privacy label for Google Maps and Google Photos. It is expected to update this section soon as Apple has made it mandatory for apps to fill in details when submitting an update for review. The last update rolled out for Google Maps and Google Photos on the App Store was December 1 and December 2, respectively. The apps haven't received an update since almost four months.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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