Last week, we showed you how Google has been recording everywhere you travelled with your smartphone since 2009 via their Maps application. This week – we’re showing you how to turn it off, if you so choose.
1. First, visit this link https://www.google.com/maps/timeline
2. A map will show your location history if it was enabled for you
3. In the bottom left-hand corner, you will see a button that calls for you to either pause or enable your location history. Click pause to disable tracking. If it asks you to enable, you’ve already opted out!
You can also delete the location data already recorded, whether you want all of it gone or just want to forget an awful or embarrassing day trip. To delete, simply click the little cog in the bottom right-hand corner of the page and select “delete all history.” To delete a specific day or location’s data, select a date or location and you will see an option for deleting the data recorded on it.
There are some reasons to leave location history enabled, as well as keeping your past data intact. As we discussed last week, Google does use this information to do things such as suggest best routes for regular trips or inform search results. If you use Google Now on your Android, this is some of the data the virtual personal assistant uses. However, there are some definite downsides to it being enabled. Your phone will be burning through battery slightly quicker as the Maps app will run in the background, and while it may not be much – every percentage counts. Plus, many people justifiably feel odd about every single place they visit with smartphone in tow being recorded and stored in Google’s servers.
Some may want to disable location history and delete their past travels for safety reasons. Google makes a point of calling this service “private,” but all it takes is your log in details to access. This could be a huge risk to those experiencing abuse from their family, a partner or a stalker. The data can also be shared with governments and law enforcement agencies if the request is determined to be lawful by Google’s legal experts. This may not concern those of you who are not committing any crimes and live in a developed country, but it’s important to know how many challenges to our privacy exist in this highly technological world.