Google Field Operations Workers May Visit & Scan Your Premises

Jun 16, 2016 • 7:47 am | comments (6) by twitter | Filed Under Google Maps
 

Grace from Google posted an interesting thread in the Google Maps Help forums about how to opt out of the Google's in-field operators scans.

Basically, Google may have real people come to your premises and take out a mobile app and scan your business's or location's Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth BLE and cell tower signals. Sounds creepy, right? Here is how Grace put it in the thread:

Accurate, up-to-date location information makes it easier for people to find businesses on products like Google Maps. One way that Google makes location information more accurate is by periodically sending in-field operators to physical business locations.

The operators use a mobile app for less than a minute to look for publicly available information, such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth BLE and cell tower signals – which are publicly visible to most smartphones. The operators don’t collect any confidential or personal information.

If you're visited by one of Google's in-field operators, you can simply ask that they don't conduct a scan on your premises. You can also opt out of the inclusion of your Wi-Fi access point featuring in Google's location services at any time by following the instructions in this article.

So I dug around and found an adecco job listing for these Google Field Operations. It reads:

Orion is recruiting for Field Operations positions for Google's Project Maps, within Google's Geo team. The Geo team builds the most accurate, comprehensive, and useful maps to help more than a billion users explore the world and navigate their daily lives.

Field Operations Position Description

In the Field Operations position, you will work independently as a part of a regional and national team, to improve functionality in Maps and related Google products. Each week you will travel to new locations and collect data to help shape the future of Google Maps. The number of site visits and distance traveled will vary from week to week.

Below is a map of the Bellagio Hotel and the Bellagio Pool area in Las Vegas. In the past you could use Google Maps to get from your house to the parking lot of your destination. With the new program, anyone will now be able to navigate not just to the destination, but to a specific area of the destination just by using their phone.


Outside (building structure, etc.)


Inside (hallways, bathrooms, etc)

Pretty interesting, don't you think?

You can either ask the in-field operator to leave, that is if you see them there - which you might not. Or you can opt out by changing your SSID on your wifi router. Google wrote, "you can opt out by changing the SSID (name) of your WiFi access point (your wireless network name) so that it ends with “_nomap”. For example, if your SSID is “12345,” you would need to change it to “12345_nomap”.

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.

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