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What you need to know about your location history timeline

Derek Walter | Aug. 28, 2015
Here's what you can do with Google's saved location information, why it's worth holding onto, or how to get rid of it for good.

google maps location history
Credit: Derek Walter

Google has recorded location data tracking every step you've made with your Android phone for quite some time. While you were always able to see all the information and even delete it all, your archived whereabouts used to be buried in your Google account on the web.

No longer. Google recently updated the Google Maps Android app to not only put the location data front and center, but also to give you a bunch of interesting new features. While I was a little creeped out at first, I found there were some genuinely neat and useful capabilities.

Here’s what you need to know about the new feature, including how you may want to make use of some of this data, delete some of it, or completely wipe all of it away for good.

Where it’s at

You’ll find a new a new section in the slide-out menu of Google Maps called Your Timeline. Select it and you’ll see a lineup of your movements for the current day. A line traces your whereabouts and how Google thinks you got there, such as via car, transit, walking, or biking.

my timeline google maps
Check out the new timeline feature in the slide-out menu of Google Maps.

The vertical menu bar is where you can take more control. Swipe to the right to go back one day, or touch the calendar to select a specific date.

google maps my timeline
Each can you can get a map and timeline of everywhere you went with your Android phone.

You’ll probably find some gray boxes that ask you to confirm where you were if Google matched the location to a place in its database. You can either select “Yes” or edit the place, if Google guessed wrong or you want to be more specific. The place details brings you to the place’s card in Google Maps.

If you use Google Photos, you’ll notice a couple of pictures you took from that location will appear underneath the description. Google doesn’t include the entire batch. So this seems like one of those features that could either expand or go away over time.

Why your timeline may be useful

Google’s products often juggle straddle the line between awesome and creepy. Your activity timeline is a perfect example. But there are a few things you may like about it, so hold on for a moment before you decide to wipe it all away.

maps activity places
Your timeline tracks where you’ve visited and includes details about those places in Google Maps.


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