New Google Maps Remembers Where You’ve Been

July 22, 2015 by Douglas A. McIntyre

In another example of how “Big Brother” has rapidly moved into the world of tech, Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) new Maps product can tell you where you have been. But it cannot tell you where you are going, at least not yet.

As the new feature was released, Gerard Sanz, Product Manager of the Google Maps division, wrote:

Have you ever wanted a way to easily remember all the places you’ve been — whether it’s a museum you visited during your last vacation or that fun bar you stumbled upon a few months ago? Well, starting today, Google Maps can help. We’re gradually rolling out Your Timeline, a useful way to remember and view the places you’ve been on a given day, month or year. Your Timeline allows you to visualize your real-world routines, easily see the trips you’ve taken and get a glimpse of the places where you spend your time. And if you use Google Photos, we’ll show the photos you took when viewing a specific day, to help resurface your memories.

The new product can only be seen by the user, although the data has to be housed by Google, or the process of recalling past activity could not work. But Google offered comfort:

Your Timeline is private and visible only to you; and you control the locations you choose to keep. This means you can easily delete a day or your full history at any time. You can edit any place that appears in Your Timeline, including removing a specific location or giving a frequented spot a private name like — Mom’s House or My Favorite Running Spot. This spot will then appear right in Google Maps when you’re logged in.

For the paranoid, Your Timeline gives Google more information to target marketing messages. Or worse, the data might be subpoenaed by some law enforcement group that wants to track your movement and locations. Under several circumstances, “private” may not be private at all.

However, for people who cannot remember where they have been, Your Timeline is a perfect solution.

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