Google Places privacy implications

Hi there,

I just updated to the latest version of Arc and saw that FourSquare was replaced with Google Places.

Would you be willing to share any of the details around potential privacy implications for this change? Does Google get any identifying data that ties a geolocation request to a specific Arc user?


Also. People from China, might not able to use the Google place cause the Block stuff……

Hi @cwong!

The API request sent to Google includes a lat lng coordinate and your query text (if any). It will also inevitably convey your IP address at the time of searching (unless perhaps you are using a service like iCloud’s Private Relay).

The API requests only occur when you tap on the search field in the Edit/Confirm view. An initial request is sent with empty query text when you open the search field. Then a subsequent request is sent once you’ve entered your search text.

As to tying the requests to a specific Arc user, there’s no such thing :wink: Arc doesn’t maintain “user accounts”, or user identifiers of any kind. Google would have to attempt to identify you via what they already know about your from other sources, eg Google search usage or use of other Google products.

Google could potentially reverse engineer the requests to an individual based on IP address and use of another Google service on the same device within a similar timeframe. Whether they do attempt to do that or not… I’m doubtful, but I can’t guess with any certainty.

I’d rank it as low risk in terms of privacy implications, given that Google aren’t given any directly identifying details, and the location that’s sent also isn’t necessarily your current location (it’s the location of the visit you happen to be editing at that time, which may or may not be your current visit).

@o1x Please do let me know if it’s not working in China!

I’m giving Google Places a one month trial in Arc. Basically the next month is going to be for shaking out whether the results are worth the cost, and worth the relationship with Google.

Google are definitely low on my list of desired businesses for Arc to be working with. Although in this specific case I think the privacy implications are minimal, I’d still prefer not to be using them. But at this stage Google do have the best places database, and that matters a lot.

The API is also the most expensive, which is why I’ve had to limit the place fetching until you tap on the search field. So that is one step backwards in terms of UX.

Better data; higher costs; minor privacy implications. We’ve got a month to decide!

If the conclusion in a month is that it’s not worth it, then I’ll be looking at Apple and OpenStreetMap.

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