With the recent Facebook data leak that shook the world this year as well as other privacy-related revelations about your go-to apps, there's no harm in being more aware and cautious about what consequences we face when using apps.
Another app that has been raising concerns over the information it collects is Google Photos. Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage app with various impressive features, including the ability to hold unlimited photos of up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. While the unlimited feature will end in June 2021, users still get to enjoy being able to search photos by location, date, and even content. Users can also share libraries so that more than one person has access to it.
But with Apple's recent addition of a privacy feature that lets users see what kind of information an app can collect from them when they download it from the App Store, Zak Doffman in an article on Forbes points out the unsual types of information Google Photos can get from users.
While information such as location and user content (photos, videos, customer support) are necessary to maximize the features offered by Google Photos (such as searching by location or grouping uploads together based on who or what's in the photo), the app also collects details such as the user's purchase history and financial information, which aren't directly necessary to carry out the primary purpose of the app.
While data such as your location is essential for users to utilize the app's unique features, it's also important to note that the App Store says that your location is also being collected for the purpose of the Developer's Advertising or Marketing. Doffman points out in his article, "Each datapoint enables an advertiser to [reach] the specific audience it wants to reach."
This can mean thata Google can collect information regarding your location so that it can serve you ads that are specific to where you are. While this may seem beneficial to users because it personalizes that ads they see and allows them to discover products and services near them, Doffman also points out the concern that app is profiting off selling users' information to advertisers.
This transparency lets users in on what types of personal details will be made available to app developers should they wish to use their products, but ultimately, the decision to use these apps and to allow them to gain access to private information is up to the users themselves.
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