Google Play services need constant location info
Google, it seems, is very, very interested in knowing where you are at all times.
Users have reported battery life issues with the latest Android build, with many pointing the finger at Google Play – Google’s app store – and its persistent, almost obsessive need to check where you are.
Amid complaints that Google Play is draining power supplies by repeatedly and unexpectedly using GPS, something more annoying is now clear: the app store is constantly tracking your whereabouts, and Google has made it impossible to switch this off unless you completely kill off location tracking for all applications.
You can try to deny Google Play access to your handheld’s location by opening the Settings app and digging through Apps -> Google Play Store -> Permissions, and flipping the switch for “location.” But you’ll be told you can’t just shut out Google Play services: you have to switch off location services for all apps if you want to block the store from knowing your whereabouts. It’s all or nothing, which isn’t particularly nice.
This is because Google Play services pass on your location to installed apps via an API. The store also sends your whereabouts to Google to process. Google doesn’t want you to turn this off.
It also encourages applications to become dependent on Google’s closed-source Play services, rather than use the interfaces in the open-source Android, thus ensuring that people continue to run Google Play on their devices.
“Kind of defeats the purpose of fine-grained privacy controls,” Al-Bassam noted, adding: “Google is encouraging developers to use the Play location API instead of the native Android API, making an open OS dependent on proprietary software.”