Back in 2017, Google launched a new service called Mobile Network Insights which gave wireless providers a free tool for aggregated data. The tool gave carriers access to see the weak spots of their network coverage is. Reuters shared that this service was “essentially a map showing carriers signal strengths and connection speeds they were delivering in each area.”
Unfortunately, Google has decided to shut down this service. This decision comes at a time with high concerns on data privacy throughout the industry.
Through the service, Google aggregated and anonymized data so that carriers would not gain access to the individual information about its users. Despite this, the service proved to be valuable for carriers since it helped them identify performance problems in various regions. The service also provided competitor stats but were not identified by name.
Google sourced data for the service from Android devices, which accounted for around 75% of smartphone usage around the world. The data, however, was gathered only from those who activated their Location History Sharing as well as usage and diagnostics on their Google accounts.
Even though the service was used widely by carriers, Google decided to discontinue the service in April. It did not give any formal reasoning on why they decided to shut down the service. Carriers were simply notified of the decision.
It is possible that the service was shut down due to data privacy concerns. It was also a move to prevent any further scrutiny from lawmakers. A spokeswoman for Google, however, shared that the decision was because they had changed “product priorities”.
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