Here’s What Google Maps Timeline Knows About You
October 29, 2023
It’s 10:00 p.m. – do you know where your children are? Google probably does. Thanks to Google Maps’ Timeline feature, the tech company probably knows where your whole family has been – down to the GPS coordinates. The feature was first rolled out in 2015 on Android devices and two years later on Apple, but many people still don’t know how much information the app actually collects. Before you hit the road this holiday season, take a minute to review your privacy settings to see if the risk is worth the benefits.
With Google Maps Timeline, you can go back to any day and see in detail where you were, when and for how long. For example, the map will show you when you left work, got home and any pit stops you made. It can also tell if you traveled by bike, car, train or bus. If you haven’t changed the settings, this information may have been stored for YEARS. This kind of tracking is helpful if you forget the name of that new lunch place you visited last month with the great chicken wrap. However, if you care about your privacy and prefer not to have your home address or daily jogging routine under Google’s watchful eye, you need to turn this feature OFF.
Under the guise of being a digital assistant, Google collects that information to make your life easier. At the same time, it’s creating detailed profiles of all of us. In some ways, this makes our lives easier. In other ways, it invites severe risks.
If you don’t feel like having Google’s eyes on your every move, follow these steps on one of your devices to update the settings. Here’s how to do it from your computer:
If the benefits outweigh the risks for you or your family, do two things. First, define a timeline to delete stored data. You can delete your location history after 3, 18 or 36 months – or keep it forever (which we don’t recommend). Once you pick an option to remove the data, Google is legally obligated to delete it.
Second, use MFA on your devices and accounts so that even if someone finds your phone or hacks your account, they can’t get in. Take control of your privacy and review this buried feature in Google’s Maps app!
If you want to talk more tips and tricks, click here to book your assessment with our team now.
TOSS C3 is the trusted Cyber Technology Services provider in Massachusetts specialized in serving law firms, libraries, local governments, and healthcare providers throughout the USA.
Subscribe now and stay up to date with News, Tips, Events, Cybersecurity, Cloud and Data Compliance.