Google has just rolled-out yet another cool feature to one of its products that’s both awesome and downright scary from a privacy standpoint. This time, it’s Google Maps that’s affected, and its new feature “Your Timeline” leaves little to the imagination. With it, you’ll be able to effectively stalk yourself – in the past!
As it is today, Google by default tracks where you are at any given time, but the amount of information captured is minimal. If you took a trip to New York six months ago, you’ll probably be able to see that referenced in your Maps history. Your Timeline takes things further by providing far more information, down to the name of a building you were in.
A feature like this has many different perks. It could be that you went to a bar a few months ago and would like to return – but can’t remember where it is. With this feature, you’d simply look back at your history, and spot it in the list. The same goes for any type of establishment or notable locations.
It’s obvious that a feature like this could be useful, and even be fun, but the privacy concerns are quite obvious here. However, Google does offer some assurance that the data is safe: “Your Timeline is private and visible only to you; and you control the locations you choose to keep. This means you can easily delete a day or your full history at any time. You can edit any place that appears in Your Timeline, including removing a specific location or giving a frequented spot a private name like — Mom’s House or My Favorite Running Spot. This spot will then appear right in Google Maps when you’re logged in.”
If you don’t want to take advantage of Your Timeline or Google’s location tracking in general, you’ll need to go into the configuration of Google Maps and turn it off. It should be noted that this tends to be enabled by default, so even if you don’t remember enabling it, you may wish to check up on it.