About 1.5 years ago I attended a wedding. It took place outside the city, in a restaurant with a very pretty garden, where never before. In about 2 hours when it happened, my phone rang. I took it out, waiting for a text message, or similar, but no: it was Google Maps, wondering if I’m in the place where I am, and since I’m there, could I upload some photos of the place?
Since then, this had become regular, to the point, it became obstructive and annoying. I’m not alone: Brad Frost’s entry talks about the same problem. I tried everything to disable Google location tracking. I went to the Location History and disabled it. I checked the Google Maps application and deleted all notifications. The latter cleared the madness for a while, until a new version of Maps appeared, which introduced an additional notification setting, which then showed another pop-up window out of nowhere.
Google doesn’t respect user settings lately, becoming a desperately annoying data accumulation monster. They have been doing unpleasant things, such as collecting information from the cell tower in silence, even with the location setting disabled for years, but with the arrival of GDPR4 they need to obtain consent, hence the silly amount of notifications with which they are bombing it.
Once I set up a configuration in a service, I hope it stays as I configured it. I expect compatibility with previous versions, filled in data, if necessary. Google and Facebook are failing this; Facebook always had, Google started recently. New application, we rename all settings, let’s reset them to the default level of hassle!
The whole problem in Android dates back to an omnipotent application: Google Services Framework. This silent and invisible beast updates itself and the Play Store whenever and wherever. Do all this in the background, without even letting you know. If you run an old phone, like my HTC Desire, it will fill those generous 150 MB it has for user applications without blinking, and it will make you wonder why your phone can no longer boot.
The extremely sad part is that everyone started to rely on GMS (Google Mobile Services) for convenience: it provides push services, you don’t have to run yours. Everything leads to the point that Android, although theoretically it is open source, will never be free from Google, in its current form.
Enter microg: some enthusiasts with the same feelings as me, but with real results. microG is a service level replacement for Google; It’s free and open source, it’s transparent. There is only one problem: it is very complicated to install it on nieche phones, with odexed ROM.