Google Maps is rolling out a Timeline feature that will allow users to essentially stalk themselves.
Do you use Google maps? Many people do, especially since the quality of the maps are really quite accurate even here in Thailand, and form the basis of a great, free navigation tool on your Android smartphone.
However, be aware that your location has been collected and stored on Google’s servers for a long time (if you allow Google to track you), but accessing that information in the past has been difficult.
Now, the Timeline feature will be front and center in Google Maps, letting you see everywhere you’ve visited — ever.
If you’re anxious about the word ‘Timeline,’ you can take some comfort in the fact that it’s not like a Facebook timeline that will be shared with all your friends. You are the only person who can view your own Google Maps Timeline history, and you can delete specific locations or your entire Timeline at your own discretion.
Think of it as a personal scrapbook where you can pick and choose which locations you want to save and memories you’d want to preserve — only you don’t have to do much to record those moments. Google will do it for you.
Now, your friends and you won’t have to argue over what bar you visited four nights ago. Just scroll through your Timeline and voila!
“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,” announced Google.
In addition to location history, Google Maps will allow you to view geotagged photos from a given day right from the Maps app. You can also rename frequented spots as “Mom’s house” and “dentist,” which will show up in Google Maps.
Enabling location history also has other perks like the Now notifications, which provides information about traffic and accidents and reminds you where you parked your car.
By creating a private map, Google says it can help people get “automatic commute predictions, improved search results” and other useful information.
In the past, geotagged photos were isolated to the Photos app, and finding your location history required some deep dives into your Google account settings. Now, all that information is consolidated in one place in a user-friendly way.
People who follow a routine and visit the same places each day may engage less with the Timeline but it could be fun to be able to scroll through all the places you could never pronounce during your trip to France.
It is currently rolling out to Maps on desktop PC’s and for Android users. I think I’ll have a play with this when it becomes available!