Google Maps now shows you everywhere you’ve been
There’s maybe a handful of people that know everywhere you go. Maybe it’s your husband or wife, or your kid, if you regularly talk about your schedules. Oh and there’s Google — depending on how much you rely on its services, like Maps and its digital assistant Google Now.
Google on Tuesday announced a feature called Your Timeline that shows you everywhere you’ve been on a map, tracking it by time and date. The company is rolling out the feature gradually, first on the Web and for phones running Google’s Android operating system.
The company said the new feature is useful for remembering the places you’ve been, like a fun bar you visited or the road trips you’ve taken.
“Your Timeline allows you to visualize your real-world routines,” Gerard Sanz, a Google project manager, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
But the feature is also a reminder of how much data Google collects on its users. The company, which makes the bulk of its money on advertising, lives on knowing personal information about the people who use its services — like where they’ve been or what they’ve searched for online. Privacy advocates have criticized the company for already knowing too much about its users.
Google is quick to point to privacy controls for the feature. A user can delete anything from their timeline, including a day’s worth of location data, as well as the entire timeline itself. People can also edit and personalize names of places on the map (like Mom’s house), or turn off location tracking services altogether.