Some research on Google/Android data collection


If you are interested in how much your Android phone talks to Google, there is a new study out from a CS guy at Vanderbilt. Some of the key takeaways are posted at:

You can, if you have lots of reading time, download the entire 55 page study as a PDF from the URL above. Not unexpected, but interesting to see the quantity of data collection events. The data below refers to phones sitting idle with the screen blank.

A dormant, stationary Android phone (with the Chrome browser active in the background) communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period, or at an average of 14 data communications per hour. In fact, location information constituted 35 percent of all the data samples sent to Google.

… an idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari.

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Some research on Google/Android data collection”

  1. Bob Shutts

    Remember you can go into your Google account and direct them to stop tracking your device, and you can delete your entire search history. Not sure but I think you have to do this for each device you own.

  2. lvthunder

    No wonder the batteries don't last long.

  3. Chris_Kez

    I'd like some visibility into what Google subsequently "knows" after collecting all this data, connecting it and analyzing it with AI and their other little algorithms. And furthermore what do they do with it?

  4. AnOldAmigaUser

    Interesting paper.

    So, if you do not leave a Chrome browser active in the background, what is the result? If you use an alternate browser and leave that open, what is communicated, and to whom?

    Will the researchers start looking at the content and quantity of information that other firms collect as well? It would be really interesting to have a comparison, if only to help make informed decisions.