Google has long had something of a P.R. problem as far as privacy is concerned, and while some of it can be labeled as people getting a little carried away with themselves, there is no doubt that the amount of information Google has about us makes it easy to be a little uncomfortable with it. With so much location data also being piped into Google via our smartphones, the company has a pretty good idea of where we are and what we are doing almost all of the time.
Google is now making it possible for us all to see just what it knows about our daily routines and the places we visit by launching Google Maps ‘Your Timeline’, a feature on the desktop and Android app that allows users to see, on a handy map, where Google thinks we have been. With our smartphones having pretty decent GPS and WiFi triangulation hardware built right in, seeing where you were a week ago to the minute is pretty impressive and scary in equal measure.
To get at the data on a desktop, open Google Maps site in a web browser and choose the real-time routines option to see everything plotted on a map, along with any photos that were taken and uploaded to Google Photos at the time. Alternatively you can get to Google Maps Your Timeline on desktop directly using this link.
If you’re looking for the data on Android, then click the side menu in Maps app on Android, or options button in the search bar, and ‘Your timeline’ is where all the good stuff is kept, under my places.
Google says that the real use of this data is to be able to remember where you were when something awesome happened, or you saw something you wanted to remember. While we can see the potential uses for it, there’s no doubt in our mind that Google just invited a whole new privacy storm onto itself, and now might be a good time to make sure your Google account password is secure and that two-factor authentication is turned on. With the data Google has on your almost constant location, you won’t want just anyone poking around.
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