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Anyone know how to clear Google Map Search results in the Android Firebase?

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GalaxyA325G

Member
May 11, 2021
44
12
Anyone know how to clear Google Map Search results in the Android Firebase?

And why does Firebase capture such searches even if you have it turned off?
a. Android 11:Settings > Google > Developer > Firebase App Indexing
[ (You may need to turn on "Developer Options") ]
b. Select "Maps <com.google.android.apps.maps>"
c. Select "Place"

What pops up on my Android 11 phone (which doesn't have a Google Account registered to it) are the "Latest updated indexables", which, at least in my tests, include the last few dozen locations you've searched in the Google Maps app.

How do you clear all Firebase indexables, en masse, on Android 11?
And why does Firebase capture ALL your Google Map destination searches even if you don't even have a Google Account?
 

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blackhawk

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2020
7,181
2,703
I hear you... excellent observation👍
The data is likely stored in Gmaps... it's a pig.
Go through it's settings and use the factory load version. Playstore updates always make it worse.
It's doing the same thing to me... Temporarily disabling Google play Services seems to kill that interaction. I normally keep Google play Services disabled unless I need to use Gmail; apparently it was enabled when I used Gmaps on 11.10.2021.
I've used Gmaps multiple times since. Clearing Google play Services doesn't clear the Firebase data. I didn't try clearing Gmaps data as it's a pain to set up.
Firebase is another Gookill data hog.

Screenshot_20211201-224103_Google Play services.jpg
 
Last edited:

GalaxyA325G

Member
May 11, 2021
44
12
Thank you for your observations so that I know it's not just me who has this huge privacy hole that I didn't even know existed!

I love that you volunteered additional useful details that will help me debug (and which should help everyone - which is always the point of posting) where your setup is different from mine (for example, you have the phone registered to a Google Account, I don't - and yet you saw the same Firebase App Indexing that I did).

Keep in mind that I go out of my way to NOT set a Google Account on the phone (so that Google can't save anything to that non-existing account), and therefore I NEVER sign into any Google app which "asks for" a signin (e.g., Google Maps, the GMail App, Google Voice, YouTube, Google Play, etc.).

The instant you sign in to some of those (GMail & Google Voice for example), the mere act of signing into a Google account will automatically CREATE a Google Account on the phone. So my rule is never sign into anything on the phone (hence I have no accounts set up on the phone - and it works just fine without them).

However, I do use the Google Maps app (without signing into it), where you can see in my tests listed in the OP, I searched for "100 Main Street" which was captured in the Firebase App Indexing in gory detail.

Luckily nothing was "transmitted" but every destination I ever entered into the Google Maps app was stored on the phone, where the question now is how to wipe out all that stored Firebase app indexing data, en masse?

From the standpoint of privacy, it's terrible these Android Firebase App Indexes exist, and worse, it's horrid that we don't know (yet) how to easily clear them (as they contain ALL your Google Map searches, even if you've never once ever logged into any Google Account!).

I don't have a Google Account (for privacy) but I can't root my phone yet (as T-Mobile owns it for another year and a half) so I'm stuck with just disabling what seem to be non essential Google packages.

What surprised me is that I don't have an account when I use Google Maps so I was surprised that the phone saved the search locations in the Firebase.

Looking for how that could be possible, I noticed this isn't disabled.
  • Google Location History (com.google.android.gms.location.history)
Looking in my free ad free App Manager, I see that Google Location History hasn't transmitted any data but it did store 32.77kB of data.

Maybe that's how Google Map searches end up in the Firebase?

To test, I just did the following (wish me luck) hoping it might clear those Google Map destination searches from the Android Firebase privacy hole.
  1. Android 11: Settings
  2. Apps
  3. Your apps
    • (with "Show system apps === on")
  4. Google Location History
  5. App info
  6. Google Location History
    • (with "Permissions === No permissions allowed")
      • [access location in the background]
      • [access precise location only in the foreground]
      • [access approximate location only in the foreground]
    • (with "Location === Denied")
    • (with "Set as default === Not set as default")
  7. Usage > Mobile data > Total = 0 B
    • (Allow background data usage === I turned this off)
    • (Allow data usage while Data saver is on === off)
  8. Usage > Storage > Total = 32.77 KB
    • (App === 32.77 KB
    • (Data === 0 B)
    • (Cache === 0 B)
  9. Unfortunately the "Clear cache" & "Clear data" buttons on the bottom were both grayed out
  10. So how are you supposed to clear that app data?
After doing that, I then purposefully borked Google Location History as best I could as shown below (some of the steps are similar).
  1. Android 11: Settings
  2. Apps
  3. Your apps
    • (with "Show system apps === on")
  4. Google Location History
  5. App info
  6. Google Location History
    • (with "Permissions === No permissions allowed")
    • (with "Location === Denied")
    • (with "Set as default === Not set as default")
  7. Force stop
    • You can't "Uninstall" because it's a protected system app)
    • You can't "Disable" either for the same reason.
  8. (Disable is grayed out)
Be careful when you force stop a protected system app because the force-stopped app (in this case, Google Location History) will suddenly completely disappear from your phone (AFAICT) such that it won't appear in a search inside most app drawer apps, and it won't show up in most app managers.

From experience, I know that my FOSS App Manager shows stopped/disabled systems apps but others might not be aware of this caveat. In that App Manager, when you tap on "Google Location History", you can hit the threedots at the top right and then click "View in Settings" which will bring you to the Android settings for that app, even as after you force stop the system app, you can no longer get to those Android settings for that app through the normal Android methods anymore.

Notice what I just said, which is once a system app like Google Location History is disabled/stopped, you can no longer FIND it in the Android Settings to turn it on, and even if you did find it (like I show above using my FOSS App Manager, you still can't re-enable it until you know how to do that - which I describe below for clarity).
  1. Start the FOSS App Manager
  2. Run a search for "google" to find "Google Location History"
  3. Long press on the result to select "Google Location History"
  4. Press the threedots (at the bottom right) of the selected set
  5. Your choices for "Google Location History" will be
    • Uninstall
    • Enable
    • Disable
    • Force-stop
    • Clear Data
    • Save APK
    • Backup/Restore
    • Prevent background operation
    • Block/unblock trackers
    • Export Blocking Rules
    • Add to profile
  6. You should be able to select the "Enable" option.
 

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  • googlelocationhistory.jpg
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  • enabledisabledapps.jpg
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  • googlemapdata.jpg
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GalaxyA325G

Member
May 11, 2021
44
12
I figured out (I think) how to clear the Firebase search data for the Google Maps app destination searches (to protect your privacy).

I started with this existing shortcut (which was already in my homescreen shortcut folder) to the following Android Activity:
  • ShortcutName === Search Data
  • ShortcutValue === com.google.android.gms.icing.ui.IcingManageSpaceActivity
My specific "Search Data" Android Activity in the Android 11 Settings, has four entries (yours will likely have more or less depending on what apps you use).
  • Google Play services (2.51 MB)
  • T-Mobile (371 kB)
  • Maps (22.42 kB)
  • GasBuddy (1.28 kB)
To get to that "Search Data" Android Activity the slow way (instead of using that quick shortcut) you do the following on Android 11.
  1. Android 11:Settings
  2. Apps
  3. Your apps
  4. Google Play services
  5. Storage
  6. At the bottom, press "Manage storage"
  7. This brings you to "Google Play services storage"
  8. Press the gray "[MANAGE SEARCH DATA]" button box.
  9. This brings you to the "Search Data" Android Activity
In that "Search Data" Android Activity, you select "Maps" and then "Storage" and then individually select "Clear cache" & "Clear data".
  • Search Data > Maps > Storage > {Clear data, Clear cache}
If you already know ahead of time that it's only the "Maps" app that you want to clear the cache & data for, you can also get there more directly using the Android 11 Settings of
  1. Android11: Settings
  2. Apps
  3. Your apps
  4. Maps
  5. Storage
  6. {Clear data, Clear cache}
Only after doing that procedure of clearing the "Maps" storage, do I finally clear out the Android Firebase storage of all the places I've ever searched for as the destination in a Google Maps app routing.

In my homescreen shortcut folder is already a shortcut to the Google menu in Android which brings me to the following Android Activity:
  • ShortcutName === Google
  • ShortcutValue === com.google.android.gms.app.settings.GoogleSettingsIALink
Once there, when I look at the Firebase App Indexing for "Maps", there is no longer anything stored which confirms this privacy hole has been cleared (for now).
  1. Android 11:Settings
  2. Google
  3. Developer
    • [ (You may need to turn on "Developer Options") ]
  4. Firebase App Indexing
  5. Maps <com.google.android.apps.maps>
    • You should no longer see a selection for "Place"
  6. Instead you should see "No indexibles found"
This is an indication that this privacy hole has been cleared.

The key unresolved question, of course, is how to prevent it from ever coming back?
 

Attachments

  • clearmapsearchdata.jpg
    clearmapsearchdata.jpg
    147.3 KB · Views: 3
  • cleargoogleplayservices.jpg
    cleargoogleplayservices.jpg
    154.3 KB · Views: 2
  • cleaningoutmapsfirebase.jpg
    cleaningoutmapsfirebase.jpg
    122.8 KB · Views: 3
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  • 1
    Anyone know how to clear Google Map Search results in the Android Firebase?

    And why does Firebase capture such searches even if you have it turned off?
    a. Android 11:Settings > Google > Developer > Firebase App Indexing
    [ (You may need to turn on "Developer Options") ]
    b. Select "Maps <com.google.android.apps.maps>"
    c. Select "Place"

    What pops up on my Android 11 phone (which doesn't have a Google Account registered to it) are the "Latest updated indexables", which, at least in my tests, include the last few dozen locations you've searched in the Google Maps app.

    How do you clear all Firebase indexables, en masse, on Android 11?
    And why does Firebase capture ALL your Google Map destination searches even if you don't even have a Google Account?
    1
    Thank you for your observations so that I know it's not just me who has this huge privacy hole that I didn't even know existed!

    I love that you volunteered additional useful details that will help me debug (and which should help everyone - which is always the point of posting) where your setup is different from mine (for example, you have the phone registered to a Google Account, I don't - and yet you saw the same Firebase App Indexing that I did).

    Keep in mind that I go out of my way to NOT set a Google Account on the phone (so that Google can't save anything to that non-existing account), and therefore I NEVER sign into any Google app which "asks for" a signin (e.g., Google Maps, the GMail App, Google Voice, YouTube, Google Play, etc.).

    The instant you sign in to some of those (GMail & Google Voice for example), the mere act of signing into a Google account will automatically CREATE a Google Account on the phone. So my rule is never sign into anything on the phone (hence I have no accounts set up on the phone - and it works just fine without them).

    However, I do use the Google Maps app (without signing into it), where you can see in my tests listed in the OP, I searched for "100 Main Street" which was captured in the Firebase App Indexing in gory detail.

    Luckily nothing was "transmitted" but every destination I ever entered into the Google Maps app was stored on the phone, where the question now is how to wipe out all that stored Firebase app indexing data, en masse?

    From the standpoint of privacy, it's terrible these Android Firebase App Indexes exist, and worse, it's horrid that we don't know (yet) how to easily clear them (as they contain ALL your Google Map searches, even if you've never once ever logged into any Google Account!).

    I don't have a Google Account (for privacy) but I can't root my phone yet (as T-Mobile owns it for another year and a half) so I'm stuck with just disabling what seem to be non essential Google packages.

    What surprised me is that I don't have an account when I use Google Maps so I was surprised that the phone saved the search locations in the Firebase.

    Looking for how that could be possible, I noticed this isn't disabled.
    • Google Location History (com.google.android.gms.location.history)
    Looking in my free ad free App Manager, I see that Google Location History hasn't transmitted any data but it did store 32.77kB of data.

    Maybe that's how Google Map searches end up in the Firebase?

    To test, I just did the following (wish me luck) hoping it might clear those Google Map destination searches from the Android Firebase privacy hole.
    1. Android 11: Settings
    2. Apps
    3. Your apps
      • (with "Show system apps === on")
    4. Google Location History
    5. App info
    6. Google Location History
      • (with "Permissions === No permissions allowed")
        • [access location in the background]
        • [access precise location only in the foreground]
        • [access approximate location only in the foreground]
      • (with "Location === Denied")
      • (with "Set as default === Not set as default")
    7. Usage > Mobile data > Total = 0 B
      • (Allow background data usage === I turned this off)
      • (Allow data usage while Data saver is on === off)
    8. Usage > Storage > Total = 32.77 KB
      • (App === 32.77 KB
      • (Data === 0 B)
      • (Cache === 0 B)
    9. Unfortunately the "Clear cache" & "Clear data" buttons on the bottom were both grayed out
    10. So how are you supposed to clear that app data?
    After doing that, I then purposefully borked Google Location History as best I could as shown below (some of the steps are similar).
    1. Android 11: Settings
    2. Apps
    3. Your apps
      • (with "Show system apps === on")
    4. Google Location History
    5. App info
    6. Google Location History
      • (with "Permissions === No permissions allowed")
      • (with "Location === Denied")
      • (with "Set as default === Not set as default")
    7. Force stop
      • You can't "Uninstall" because it's a protected system app)
      • You can't "Disable" either for the same reason.
    8. (Disable is grayed out)
    Be careful when you force stop a protected system app because the force-stopped app (in this case, Google Location History) will suddenly completely disappear from your phone (AFAICT) such that it won't appear in a search inside most app drawer apps, and it won't show up in most app managers.

    From experience, I know that my FOSS App Manager shows stopped/disabled systems apps but others might not be aware of this caveat. In that App Manager, when you tap on "Google Location History", you can hit the threedots at the top right and then click "View in Settings" which will bring you to the Android settings for that app, even as after you force stop the system app, you can no longer get to those Android settings for that app through the normal Android methods anymore.

    Notice what I just said, which is once a system app like Google Location History is disabled/stopped, you can no longer FIND it in the Android Settings to turn it on, and even if you did find it (like I show above using my FOSS App Manager, you still can't re-enable it until you know how to do that - which I describe below for clarity).
    1. Start the FOSS App Manager
    2. Run a search for "google" to find "Google Location History"
    3. Long press on the result to select "Google Location History"
    4. Press the threedots (at the bottom right) of the selected set
    5. Your choices for "Google Location History" will be
      • Uninstall
      • Enable
      • Disable
      • Force-stop
      • Clear Data
      • Save APK
      • Backup/Restore
      • Prevent background operation
      • Block/unblock trackers
      • Export Blocking Rules
      • Add to profile
    6. You should be able to select the "Enable" option.
    1
    I figured out (I think) how to clear the Firebase search data for the Google Maps app destination searches (to protect your privacy).

    I started with this existing shortcut (which was already in my homescreen shortcut folder) to the following Android Activity:
    • ShortcutName === Search Data
    • ShortcutValue === com.google.android.gms.icing.ui.IcingManageSpaceActivity
    My specific "Search Data" Android Activity in the Android 11 Settings, has four entries (yours will likely have more or less depending on what apps you use).
    • Google Play services (2.51 MB)
    • T-Mobile (371 kB)
    • Maps (22.42 kB)
    • GasBuddy (1.28 kB)
    To get to that "Search Data" Android Activity the slow way (instead of using that quick shortcut) you do the following on Android 11.
    1. Android 11:Settings
    2. Apps
    3. Your apps
    4. Google Play services
    5. Storage
    6. At the bottom, press "Manage storage"
    7. This brings you to "Google Play services storage"
    8. Press the gray "[MANAGE SEARCH DATA]" button box.
    9. This brings you to the "Search Data" Android Activity
    In that "Search Data" Android Activity, you select "Maps" and then "Storage" and then individually select "Clear cache" & "Clear data".
    • Search Data > Maps > Storage > {Clear data, Clear cache}
    If you already know ahead of time that it's only the "Maps" app that you want to clear the cache & data for, you can also get there more directly using the Android 11 Settings of
    1. Android11: Settings
    2. Apps
    3. Your apps
    4. Maps
    5. Storage
    6. {Clear data, Clear cache}
    Only after doing that procedure of clearing the "Maps" storage, do I finally clear out the Android Firebase storage of all the places I've ever searched for as the destination in a Google Maps app routing.

    In my homescreen shortcut folder is already a shortcut to the Google menu in Android which brings me to the following Android Activity:
    • ShortcutName === Google
    • ShortcutValue === com.google.android.gms.app.settings.GoogleSettingsIALink
    Once there, when I look at the Firebase App Indexing for "Maps", there is no longer anything stored which confirms this privacy hole has been cleared (for now).
    1. Android 11:Settings
    2. Google
    3. Developer
      • [ (You may need to turn on "Developer Options") ]
    4. Firebase App Indexing
    5. Maps <com.google.android.apps.maps>
      • You should no longer see a selection for "Place"
    6. Instead you should see "No indexibles found"
    This is an indication that this privacy hole has been cleared.

    The key unresolved question, of course, is how to prevent it from ever coming back?