Location Sharing with Google Home

With Google’s near-monopoly on the internet, it can be difficult to get around in cyberspace without encountering at least some aspect of this monolithic, data-gathering giant. It usually takes a concerted effort, but it is technically possible to do. While [Mat] is still using some Google products, he has at least figured out a way to get Google Home to work with location data without actually sharing that data with Google, which is a step in the right direction.

[Mat]’s goal was to use Google’s location sharing features through Google Home, but without the creepiness factor of Google knowing everything about his life, and also without the hassle of having to use Google Maps. He’s using a few things to pull this off, including a NodeRED server running on a Raspberry Pi Zero, a free account from If This Then That (IFTTT), Tasker with AutoRemote plugin, and the Google Maps API key. With all of that put together, and some configuration of IFTTT he can ask his Google assistant (or Google Home) for location data, all without sharing that data with Google.

This project is a great implementation of Google’s tools and a powerful use of IFTTT. And, as a bonus, it gets around some of the creepiness factor that Google tends to incorporate in their quest to know all the data.

13 thoughts on “Location Sharing with Google Home

  1. “he has at least figured out a way to get Google Home to work with location data without actually sharing that data with Google”
    “At the same time, I’m passing the needed coordinates to the Google Maps API link which will translate the coordinates into the human-readable address.”
    Also, the TTS seems to be done by Google Home, which might in turn send the data to Google for TTS…

    1. The coords obtained are from different google account the one that uses the API (you can use a burner account for that as well). as per TTS, while this part is not avoidable, you are not associating the obtained coords with the gmail account linked to the phone monitored. So what Google “gets” is a translation query of a street address of a place you have not been to (at least that day/time). Regards

  2. What I found more creepy than using “creepy” twice in a single article is the fact that people are using Google’s API (and their Javascript library hosting service) without even thinking about it … I am way more willing to willingly will over my will to Willy (Google) than to use some “API” crap that may or may not log everything I am doing with it.
    Creepy Willy has spoken.

  3. thats a lot of work for nothing, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that passing his coordinate data to google will be linked to his identity through the use of their algorithms. If you use google’s tools, then google gets your data, thats how they have worked, its how they have always worked. It doesn’t even make attributing that data to you any more difficult either. Also is seems a little foolish to say that he isnt using google maps if he is using the google maps api, he may not be using the app but he is still using the product.

    1. It’s a bit of work, but this is not the only setup that runs on NodeRED. If you have the NodeRED set up already – the copy and paste job takes 5 min.
      As per sharing the location with google. The coords are obtained from another device which does not disclose it to logged in google account. The account that looks up API can be a burner email address. What google gets is a random address as a translate query that you have never been to according to your location history.

  4. ” but it is technically possible to do.”
    Ha, only if you are OK with a limited internet and with 75%+ of the sites not having usability.

    It’s annoying as hell. And what google does to bust through attempts at privacy shows beyond doubt they are in fact evil, and doing evil.
    Note that I use that term ‘evil’ because it’s one they used in the past, I for me think the word is a bit too religion-based in concept.

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