Jump to content
orrc

Evernote sharing my note titles with Google on Android

Recommended Posts

I'm using the official Evernote for Android app, and I just noticed when reviewing my Google Account history, that Evernote is notifying Google each time that I open a note on Android, including the note title and its URL.

You can see this in your own Google account by visiting this URL: https://myactivity.google.com/item?product=1&q=evernote (see attached image for an example)

While I realise that I have at some point explicitly opted in to Google's "Web & App Activity" feature (it's one of the things Google tries hard to get you to agree with when setting up an Android phone), and that this feature says it will "Save your search activity on apps and in browsers", I would not expect that my notes would be party to this.  This isn't happening by accident — Evernote has explicitly built Android "app indexing" into their app to allow this to happen.

Of course, I can disable "Web & App Activity" on my Google Account, but I would not expect that Evernote would even try sending my sensitive note titles to Google APIs, unless I gave my explicit consent.

I can't see where this is covered in the Evernote privacy policy.  Certainly "We have your explicit consent to share the information" doesn't apply, though perhaps the vague clause saying "We need to share your information with Service Providers who process data on our behalf in order to operate and improve the features and functionality of the Service" could apply, if you argue that sharing note titles with Google is improving the "features and functionality" of Evernote — for me it's not.

In the following section, Evernote says "We do not share your account information or user activity history with third parties for the purpose of enabling them to deliver their advertisements to you." — but this doesn't apply to Google, as they explicitly say in their privacy policy "We try to show you useful ads by using data collected from your devices"

Could we please have a way to opt out of this, some transparency about why this feature is enabled, and exactly how the privacy policy applies to this?

Thanks

 

evernote-sending-note-titles-to-google.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Hmmn.  If you go through the introduction screens Google says " You can easily delete specific items or entire topics. You can also change your settings and decide what data gets associated with your account." and also -

58a1aa30cba9c_ScreenClip3.thumb.png.25cb71e57edc7b21780023c8366c961c.png

Don't know if Evernote have much to do with this - Android manages all the connections between your device and the cloud,  so all requests for searches etc...  just Google trying to be 'helpful' and managing to be creepy (as usual).

I don't know if you can select which apps get reported on,  or exclude some or all from the process as claimed.  If you want a official definitive answer on this I'd suggest you contact support directly if you're a paying subscriber at https://help.evernote.com/hc/requests/new (premium subscribers can chat from the same link) - or message them on Twitter via https://twitter.com/evernotehelps

Devs do read these posts,  but you might wait some while before one comes around. We're a (mainly) user-supported website,  so definitely not 'official' in any sense of the word...

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, very much, @orrc, and welcome to the forums!

@gazumped, I think Evernote must be allowing this to happen, because all the other apps listed in my Google activity report show only that they were "used," not what they were used for. The one exception, not surprisingly, is Google's own Maps app, which shows addresses and businesses I've searched. The calendar app I use (not the stock app) only shows up as having been "used" at certain times; the specific events I've accessed are not shown. The same is true for my browser--only the use of the browser, not the sites visited, is shown.

Therefore I conclude that orrc is right, and Evernote is somehow specifically and intentionally sending the titles of specific notes to Google. Whether this is related to having moved to Google's cloud service, or hooking into Google Docs, I don't know. But I don't much like it, no matter how sweetly Google says no one can see it but me. I don't really need to see it, do I?

Share this post


Link to post

@Dave-in-Decatur - I did say "I don't know" a couple of times in that reply - and I really don't.  This is something that Evernote would have to comment on.  I haven't gotten around to poking any further into it,  but if you and/ or the OP want to raise it with Support we'll hopefully get an answer.

Share this post


Link to post

I poked into the internals of the app (I'm an Android developer), and Evernote has definitely built this "app indexing" feature into their app, and they're providing the titles and snippets of your notes to this API to allow (strictly on-device) searching of your notes.

The searching use-case is ok, but fairly useless, since it only searches part of the note text, and only seems to happen if I explicitly select "In Apps" when using the Google search app.  But for some reason, this (or some other API) involves sending "hey, you read a note" events to Google.  I couldn't see any way to turn that off on Google's side, without disabling all activity reporting on my account.

Thanks for the input — I'll try and make my way through the support process.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, @orrc. I appreciate your sharing the results of your expertise with us. In a very hasty test, I found that:

  • If I go into the Google search app settings and select In apps, I can select or deselect a small number of individual apps that have in-app searching enabled, including Evernote.
  • Even when Evernote is selected, the Google app cannot seem to find things in it.
  • If I deselect Evernote and give it a minute to percolate, the Google activity page link you gave above no longer reports any Evernote activity, not even as a bare usage of it. However, if I just use the Bundle or Item views, without specifying Evernote in the URL, events are reported simply as usage, without indicating specific note titles.

So, the usefulness of allowing Google to do in-app searching of EN is questionable (if I'm doing this right, which I may not be); and it is possible, once you know where to look, to keep EN note names from showing up in Google activity reports. Better!

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...