Google Maps is a fantastic tool for exploring the world. You can even see shipwreck sites on Google Maps, including the Titanic. Spending countless hours exploring neighborhoods thousands of miles away is easy.
But the fun has a price. If you have location data turned on for your iPhone or Android device, Google Maps tracks your every move. This may have more implications than you think.
Read on to see what Google knows about you and what you can do about it.
Here’s the backstory
For any app to provide accurate data, it often needs to know where you are. For example, the Uber app needs to know your location so the driver knows where to pick you up or deliver your food. Weather apps need to know where you are to provide location-based forecasts.
The same reasoning applies to Google Maps, as you need to know where you are in the world if you need directions. But few may know that unless you change it, Google Maps is always up and tracking your location.
It plots all the data on a custom map on your Google profile to make things even spookier. So one of the world’s largest tech companies not only knows where you’ve been, but also stores the data on its servers.
Here’s how to see all the places you’ve been on Google Maps:
- When you sign in to your Google account, open maps
- Click on the Burger menu in the upper left corner.
- When the full side menu is open, click Your timeline.
- This will bring up a full map of where you’ve been and the number of places you’ve checked in.
- The data of the places you visited can also be retrieved by opening the side menu, clicking on your placesand then clicking Visited.
Location data may lead to targeted advertising or promotion of businesses in your neighborhood. In the worst case, some of your location data may end up with data brokers.
What can you do about it
The first thing you need to do is turn off location history. That is how:
- go to your google profile browsing to https://myaccount.google.com. You must sign in if you haven’t already done so.
- In the left pane, click Data privacy.
- Scroll down to the Things you’ve done and places you’ve been section.
- Play location history.
- tap on the To turn off button. Then select Pause.
This same type of technology is used with Google Photos. Touch or click here to disable this feature in Google Photos.
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