Some of the examples given by the AP include the Google Maps app, which takes a snapshot of your location as soon as you open it and even completely unrelated searches like "chocolate chip cookies" which "pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude" and save it to your Google account. I know that the default weather apps on Android have the option of identifying your "home" location and it could just show updates for where you live.
Google says tracking users' locations helps it to target geographically-specific ads. Researchers, and the publication's own tests, were able to confirm this is the current situation for Android and iOS users.
The AP's findings were confirmed by computer-science researchers at Princeton University.
"Storing location data in violation of users" preferences is wrong", said Princeton computer scientist Jonathan Mayer, who also formerly served as chief technologist for the FCC.
If you want to fully disable location tracking (which, keep in mind, will limit certain apps' location-driven capabilities), you need to disable another setting called Web & App Activity.
Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.
When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account.
Of course by "may be saved" Google means "will be saved" and it forgets to tell you that "Web and App Activity" is where you need to go to stop Search and Maps from storing your location data.
As Google points out, this pervasive data collection is precisely what "improves" "user experience", making searching, maps, and recommendations more efficient. You can delete all of the spots but you have to do it individually or delete all at once.
The Location feature that Google built-into the Android operating system and some of its applications power location-based services such as Google Maps and provide Google with information about a customer's whereabouts.
Google is accused of being misleading and disingenuous with the information it provides Android and iPhone users.
AP began its inquiry into this location-tracking issue after a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley observed a notification on her Android phone asking her to rate a recent trip to Kohl's even though she had turned off Location History.
"Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete, or turn it off at any time".
While disabling "Web & App Activity" will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. Searches that grabbed your location will have the small location pin icon next to them; delete those to cover up your tracks.