Google Maps is trying to be painfully clear about how crowdsourced data powers navigation

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Google Maps has become an essential tool in our lives, be it for getting around or just knowing places. The navigation features, including turn-to-turn navigation, allow us to drive to places and not get lost in the process, and have come extremely handy ever since I’ve started using a car since I always seem to make wrong turns and end up getting lost.

Now, Google Maps users will start showing users prompts on how crowdsourced data is essential for the app, and you’ll have to agree if you want to continue using these features, as spotted by 9to5Google.

For the record, this is not something new. Google has always used your data, including where you currently are, where you went, and where you’re currently going, for a lot of the essential features from Google Maps, including predicting traffic, calculating travel times, as well as coming up with the fastest route to a place, whether you’re walking or driving. Nothing is changing there.

Google is just using your consent to keep sharing that data since it’s essential to the service’s functionality. You’ll need to consent to it once the prompt comes up in order to keep using features like live turn-to-turn navigation.

Google Maps users should now start seeing this prompt. Image credits: 9to5Google

Why is Google doing this now? At Google I/O 2021, the company renewed its commitment to “protect your privacy,” and since then a lot of apps, like Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail, have all shown similar prompts to users reminding them of the data they share and how Google is using it.

Accepting the prompt won’t change anything about how the app previously worked, nor will you share with Google anything you weren’t previously sharing — it’s just a courtesy. It just serves to keep you informed about the information you’re sharing with the all-seeing, benevolent Google. And if you’re not okay with that, you can reject it and not share that information, but be mindful that the app won’t work in the same way.

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