Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Google puts location history in plain sight in Google Maps app

Some users know that Google keeps a record of wherever we go (provided you opted into it), but for many more that simply click on everything, this often comes as a surprise. Now Google puts your location history front and center in the new Google Maps app, so there are no more excuses for not knowing about it.

The latest Google Maps app for Android comes with the new "Your timeline" option that allows you to access your location history. You need only select a date, and go back in time, seeing where you were, literally step by step.

Once again, this location history is only kept if you allowed Google to do so - and you can simply turn it off (or back on) at any time. You can also clear all your location data, so there are no more records of where you were and when.

For some, this kind of data gathering may be considered "too much" - but keep in mind that, just because you opt out of it on Google, there's no telling that same data isn't being gathered just the same, in less "transparent" ways (your phone operator has access to the same kind of data - and though it won't provide you with it, who knows who else might have access to it). For others, it will simply be a matter of having available that data themselves.

For me, the location history already came in handy a handful of times (when you have a unrecognized charge on your credit card, you can go back to that day and see what you were doing, for instance)s. And I just can't stop imagining how all this data can be put to good use... just imagine crunching all this data and figuring out the best and most efficient way to drive people to their destinations using a fleet of autonomous vehicles... :)

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