Before you jump all over Google, they are a business who needs to make money and data is their currency. You decide to use their free stuff and in return they use your data and display ads. No reason to let them have more than the minimum so use what options you have to limit that.
Google street view cars were also mapping your WIFI SSID information although I read they ceased doing that after many complaints!
Ever notice that many times you may do a Google search on your phone while connected via VPN in say "Germany" but at the bottom of the search result page your real location is displayed?
You have location and GPS turned off!
How come Google still knows where I am?
There may be several tricks they use but one is that your WiFi connection is giving you away. If your using cell data forget hiding because cell towers know where you are by triangulation and VPN can do nothing about that.
Those sneaky dudes at Google send cars around with funny camera pods on the roof to take pictures for street view...and collect wifi geolocation data along the way, matched to your GPS coordinates. Result is that your SSID/WiFi knows where you are without needing your location services or GPS turned on at all while your at home or any random WiFi hotspot.
"Google Street View cars are continuing to pick up Wi-Fi
Here is one enlightning article.
And no...turning off your wifi SSID broadcast won't really do anything except keep your neighbor or random stranger from trying to hijack your interenat service to save a buck...or do something illegal that might be pinned on you.
Now one thing to consider is when was the last time a street view car drove past your house? My street view image is YEARS out of date so the internet service I had and the WiFi and other devices I had at that time no longer exist at this location. But Google is still sniffing my location??
One potential solution is to search with DuckDuckGo not Google. Your still going to give your location away via other Google apps like Play Store, Music, Maps etc. unless you use alternative to those as well.
You can get most apps by downloading the install files directly ( .apk ) instead of via PlayStore. Some may give you problems installing but most are just fine. What you miss will be updates. The largest repository of Android apps resides at APK Pure.
They even have their own installer app.
Social media is also a give away of a different sort because they tease you into giving away your life for them to package and resell, not giving you a dime for your trouble.
Wan't to play online? Using CASH buy a burner phone and use that for social media and other such uses. Much about your location will still be visible but nothing about who you are, basically making it anonymous data of little use other than to blast you with ads you're free to ignore.
One more tip. Don't use GMAIL !! Yes you may need it to register your device for specific purposes such as your contact list, calendar and play store but there is no reason to use it to actually send and recieve emails.
Get another email account! You can get free encrypted email accounts including apps for your devices at such places as; Tutanota, Proton Best of all you do not need to identify yourself in any way to get these accounts.
Yahoo? No that's Microsoft and don't think they are not collecting your data too!
No...you do not need to be a criminal to want to protect your personal privacy! These methods are often used by government personel, activists and journalists to keep a low profile and for self protection.You can log in to your Google account /myactivity where you will find a history of every thing you searched for by day and time. You will find a record of what ever app you used and when. Basically everything you do on your phone is saved. Of course the disclaimer is that this is to make things easier for you. Good news is you can delete that information and disable future recording. But did you know that?
All the ways Google tracks you and how to stop it. WIRED
More places to get free anonymous emails: CLICK