Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Creepy but useful – Google Places and Timeline

We are carrying a spy in our pockets. If you have your location enabled on an android phone, Google can show EVERY move you made for the last several years as well as most of the places you’ve visited.

The level of detail regarding the data Google stores about you is unsettling at best. If you want to see for yourself, the best way is from a desktop or laptop computer:

  • Make sure you are logged into your Google account. (logging into gmail will do)
  • Go to Google maps.
  • Click the menu icon at the top left.
  • Choose ‘Timeline’
  • Choose any day
Google Your Timeline and Places menu

Timeline and Places menu

 

You will see where you traveled, how you traveled and how long you were at each location.   There are a few reasons you might actually want this information.

  • If you are a consultant billing by the hour, you can easily confirm how long you were at a particular location.
  • You can easily get the mileage between locations which can be useful for tax purposes.
  • You can ‘relive’ vacations.

However, that comes at a cost. Google knows EVERYTHING you do. They know where you went and how long you were there. Visit a strip club and it is in your timeline. Go to a medical specialist and it is in your timeline. Visit a lawyer’s office and it is in your timeline.   Below is a sample timeline. The map shows the route you took, the transportation mode used and how long you were en route and how much time you spent at each location.

Google map's timeline

No Privacy here!!

 

If you go to “Your Places” on the map, you see a list of all the places you visited.  I don’t really have a need for that information. However, for Google, they can use it to tailor ads for you. A corrupt Federal, State or Local Government or corporation can use that information against you.

Google Tracks EVERY place you visit

Google Tracks EVERY place you visit

 

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