Google says that collecting location information from smartphones is very important to the company's future business. An email written by a Google product manager last year highlights this information. This email, along with others, is being used as part of a public filing of a lawsuit against Google. Such information is required for mobile applications and websites to function properly. The location information is used by smartphone platforms for advertising targeting, tailoring ads to users' locations.
Google shows the evidence
This location tracking revelation has led to the US Senate Judiciary Committee scheduling a hearing on May 10th for both Google and Apple, to discuss the companies' practices. Google, with users' permission, collects location information about wireless networks surrounding mobile devices that run Android. It also collects information of wireless networks near personal computers if the PC owners are using Google Chrome. Tech companies use this information to build wireless networks which help determine the location of phones and computers in those networks. This system is, according to Google, more efficient than GPS.
Collection location information is important to Google now because in 2010, Google had stopped collecting Wi-Fi information from their vehicles that were collecting information for Street View. A second purpose to those vehicles was to create Google's wireless network but, they inadvertantly collected some personal information from unsecured networks and were made to stop.