An Associated Press report said it had examined Google services on both Android devices and iPhones and found that turning off Location History had no impact at all.
The company's support page says: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”
But the AP found that this was a lie and even with Location History turned off, some Google apps store time-stamped location data.
And some searches which have nothing to do with location store a user's latitude and longitude in his or her Google account.
But Google denied that it was being misleading. “There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson told the AP.
“We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”
The company says users should turn off Web & App Activity in order to avoid their location being tracked.
Commenting on the tracking, Sean McGrath, a cyber security expert at BestVPN.com, said: “You’d think that at some point we’d hear stories like this one and not be surprised. Yet here we are, once again, outraged that a technology giant is surreptitiously mining our data.
"We need to wake up and smell the digital coffee. Google’s entire business model is based on gathering as much personal data as possible and then finding ways to monetise that data. It has built a world-class portfolio of tools that are 100% free at the point of use. Google doesn’t give away Gmail, Maps, Street View, Android and YouTube out of some profound sense of altruism. The business spends billions on building these free services in the hope that they become ingrained in your life.
"And in return, all they ask for… is your personal data.
"It’s a transaction, pure and simple, and it’s one that we all signed up for the moment we started using the company’s technology. So, in a sense, Google is just fulfilling its end of the bargain and we really don’t have the right to be surprised.
"There are a number of measures that can be taken to condense your digital footprint and reduce the amount of data these providers are able to harvest; but the cold truth is, the only way to fully prevent Google from gathering data – is to not use Google.
"We need to do some soul-searching and ask ourselves what our personal data is really worth. Only then can we make an informed decision about whether these free services represent good value for money.
"But if you must continue to use Google, using a VPN can help protect your personal information. It’s also a good best practice to regularly delete your Google search history.”