Google Maps Now Lets you Retrace All of Your Past Steps
You know Google is tracking your every move, right?
If you own a mobile device, and have opted into location tracking in one or more of Google’s many services, such as Google Photos or Google Now, the company is keeping a record of your past movements.
You can check the places you visited through a new feature in Google Maps, the aptly named Your Timeline. It lets you check where you were at any given time — like that pretzel shop that gave you refuge on a cold, wet December day a few years ago.
Google’s location history — now replaced with Timeline — already offered all this data, daily and monthly, but in a less visually appealing and less curated format.
Browsing through your past experiences can be fascinating, if time-consuming. Randomly clicking on a day in March 2014 showed me I went to a lot of places around Zagreb, Croatia. I have no idea what I was doing at all those places, but now I’m suddenly eager to take a trip down memory lane.
Both the location history and Your Timeline features are private and visible only to you. You can delete your entire history by clicking on the settings icon in the lower-right hand portion of Timeline and selecting “delete all location history.”
To stop Google from storing your location history moving forward, go to My Account, click on “account history” and turn off the “places you go” option. Note that your phone or tablet isn’t tracking your location when in airplane mode, but in most scenarios, your mobile devices know where you are.
You can also edit places in Your Timeline, remove a certain location or rename it at will, making it visible in Google Maps the next time you log in.
The new timeline feature is being gradually rolled out to users on both desktop and Android devices.