Dormant Android smartphones send data to Google nearly ten times more often than iOS devices do, according to new research by trade association Digital Content Next.
In a research paper titled “Google Data Collection,” Vanderbilt University Professor Douglass Schmidt claims that Google’s servers receive 10 ten times the amount of user data from idle Androids than they do idle iPhones.
The new research notes that a “major part” of Google’s data collection efforts occurs while a user is not directly engaged with the device.
Fifty times as many data requests
Schmidt found that an idle Android phone with Chrome running in the background sent location data to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period; an iOS phone with Safari running in the background didn’t send any data unless a user was actively interacting with the device.
“An idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari,” the report noted.
Android devices sent as much as 4.4MB of data per day to Google, while an iPhone sent only 0.76MB of data to Google.
“Google is the world’s largest digital advertising company,” Schmidt wrote, “[It] utilizes the tremendous reach of its products to collect detailed information about people’s online and real-world behaviors, which it then uses to target them with paid advertising.”
More than 2 billion people worldwide own Android devices.
Lawsuit over tracking practices
The new findings come after a lawsuit was filed against Google for falsely representing how its location history settings work. In response to a recent investigation by the Associated Press, Google altered its website to provide clarity on what Google tracks.
“We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centers,” Google said in a statement to the Associated Press.