There was a time when the Google app was just a search box for your home screen (the package name is actually "googlequicksearchbox"). Now, it's an integral part of your phone that can add new and wonderful features via an update. Unfortunately, it can also introduce new and infuriating bugs. Case in point, a recent Google app update is causing launchers to ping your location every time you go home. Which launchers? It looks like all of them.
Wondering if you're affected? You probably are. Every phone we've tested seems to produce a location icon in the status bar when you tap the home button. That includes a Pixel 3, OnePlus 6T, and Nokia 7.1 for starters. Affected launchers include the Pixel Launcher, Nova, Rootless Pixel Launcher, and the stock Android One home screen. At this point, we're willing to call it a universal issue. If you've got Android system notifications enabled, you may also see an alert that Play Services is accessing your location.
The Google app appears to be the culprit starting with version 188.8.131.52. Rolling back to an older version fixes the bug, but even newer builds seem to be affected. I'm using v184.108.40.206 (beta), and the location icon still appears. This is a strange and annoying bug, but it seems like it should be an easy fix. Let's get on it, Google.
Okay, Google seems to have fixed this one in record time. We've confirmed on various devices that the location ping when going to the home screen has stopped. Google either made a change on the back end or did something to Play Services to fix it.