See Where You’ve Been With ‘Your Timeline’ in Google Maps

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

First Click: Google already knows if our paths have crossed.

Social apps like Foursquare / Swarm are more about places you’re at or where you’re going. The feature allows you to view your entire location history on Google Maps based on data pulled from your devices when signed-in to your Google account.

Last night Google announced its new Your Timeline feature in Maps that lets you “view the places you’ve been on a given day, month or year.” Like most things Google does, it feels a bit creepy, if not downright foreboding in the post-Snowden era. It’s not a social feature, as you’re the only one who sees the information… …It’s a reminder of how much freaking data Google has on us if we leave all of our defaults on.

But it won’t be long before some enterprising developer (or even Google) offers a way for multiple people to compare location histories and identify dates and places where paths have crossed. If, for example, you visited Coney Island on July 2, as you peruse your voyage around the area that day you’ll see photos next to the entries for the places you took them—assuming you uploaded the images to Google drive, of course. Why this matters: This is yet another example of what Google can do with your data resulting from the privacy policy changes the company enacted in 2012. And for those who love the idea of maintaining fine-grain journals of their day, this feature will be a perfect fit for taking trips down memory lane. Or in non-Googler speak…if your significant other knew your phone’s unlock password they could track your movements all the way to the Buckaroo Motel and back, if they wanted to.

While all these features sound nice and privacy-protecting, just remember that any of your location data stored on Google’s servers is also available to law enforcement or other interested government parties that file the right paperwork. That said, there’s no denying that Google Now is an awfully useful service and Your Timeline may also reveal itself to be more handy than you realized—if only to retrace your steps on that day you lost your backpack.

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