Google is under investigation in Australia following claims that it collects data from millions of Android smartphone users, who unwittingly pay their telecom service providers for gigabytes consumed by the activity, regulators said on 15 May.
In the event, new features of Google Maps were also unveiled and will be rolling out these coming months both on Android and iOS. Instead of using the trio of buttons that have appeared on Android phones for years, users will navigate the operating system with a series of gestures and swiping motions. The ACCC is particularly concerned that digital platforms like Google and Facebook have tremendous influence on the advertising market. This, when combined with location co-ordinates, would allow Google to work out which shops the user had visited, which meant store visits could be tied to viewing online ads.
The investigations into Google data harvesting come in the aftermath of the privacy scandal around social media giant Facebook, accused of collecting user data for marketing purposes.
This information, the lawmakers argue, could be shared and used by advertisers.
"We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner", Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, told the Guardian.
Currently, there are 10 million users in Australia using androids.
At a time of increased scrutiny of companies that collect masses of user data, two USA senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate a Google product called Location History. The tech giant's use of location data when users aren't logged into the map App, is less clear.
Google still hasn't implemented the search bar directly into the launcher like we've seen in previous leaks, but there's a mod for this version of the Pixel launcher if you really want to get ahead of the game.