If you use Google Maps or another Google app on your phone, Google may have kept a record of where you’ve been. You might find that information to be a fascinating resource or an unnerving record of your movements that you’d prefer to delete. Either way, you should find out more about your Google Location history.
How to View Your Google Location History
To view your Google Location history, go to your personal Google Location History page. Make sure you’re logged into the Google account that you use on your phone.
You’ll see a calendar in the upper left corner of the page. Choose a time period from the drop-down menu and then click on the date you want to see:
If you have Location History enabled, you’ll see dots with red lines connecting them, showing your recorded locations during that time period. You may need to scroll through different dates to find your Location History.
You’ll also see a graph beneath the map showing the distance traveled from your original location during the day.
You can click on the arrow button in the bottom left corner of the map to watch a moving image of your travels. Follow your journey as the image goes from point to point, reminding you of where you went and when.
Deleting Your Location History
Sometimes you may not want a record of where you’ve been. Perhaps you robbed a bank or were some place you shouldn’t have been, at least not on that date…
You can delete your entire Location History or delete a specific time period. Go to your Location History page and choose either Delete History from this time period or Delete Entire History from the links under the calendar.
If you don’t want your Location History to be tracked, you can turn this feature off on your smartphone. Google has pages that explain how to turn Location History on and off for:
Google’s Reason for Location History
According to Google, “Google Location History lets Google save your location to provide benefits like improved map searches and tailored commute information.”
Google Isn’t Alone
Google isn’t the only company retaining information about your location. Apple also does this with its Frequent Locations feature on the iPhone. See, The Creepiest or Coolest iPhone Feature You Didn’t Know About — And How to Opt Out. Judging from the poll results in that article, it seems that many Wonder of Tech readers aren’t very comfortable about their locations being tracked by their cell phones.
A potentially big difference between Apple’s Frequent Location and Google’s Location History is the location of your information. With Apple you access your location information on your iPhone. With Google you access your location information on the Internet.
If you’re an Android user and wished you had a record of your movements, good news. You probably do. If you’re an iPhone user and took little comfort in Apple’s assurance that the location information remains on your phone, then you might be looking to opt out of Google’s location tracking.
Data: The Price of Free
If you use Google’s search, maps or other services, you haven’t paid any money for their features. But you probably have paid with your data. Before you opt out of location tracking, consider that giving Google data such as your location can actually help you get better service such as maps, traffic, directions, etc. Whether accessing those services are worth the cost of your being tracked is a decision only you can make.
My Location History
Although I’ve been using Google Maps on a smartphone for a long time, my Location History was very sparse. For some reason, Google tracked me in May of 2013 and 2014, but I couldn’t find any other Location History. My settings are for my Location History to be turned on but perhaps my daily routine is a bit too boring to be tracked the other 11 months of the year?
Do you like Google Location History? Do you find it cool or creepy? Vote in The Wonder of Tech poll:
How do you feel about Google Location History? Do you like seeing where you’ve been or will you opt out? Were you surprised that you have a Location History from Google? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.
* Google Location History Map courtesy of Steven Vance via Flickr and Creative Commons.