Google Location History

You probably don’t know exactly where you were 3 weeks  ago today at a specific time. But if you own a device with an Android OS, Google may be able to help you remember.

You may or may not remember being asked during the initial setup whether you wanted to allow Google to collect “Location Data”. Google takes this data from your phone or device and uses it to track where you are going, how fast, and how far you travelled from your original location.

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This is how Google maps provides up to date traffic info. For example, if 100 drivers with this feature activated are on a  stretch of highway during rush hour, Google can estimate what traffic is like by checking how far each of them have moved in a certain time period, and can notify drivers further back to avoid that section of highway. They can also see which lanes are moving faster than others or which lanes may be closed completely due to an accident.

 

Green means traffic is normal, yellow means fair, and red or red/black means heavy traffic.
Green means traffic is normal, yellow means fair, and red or red/black means heavy traffic.

 

None of this data collection is new -Google has been gathering this information from users for years. Many people have no idea Google is collecting this data or that they can keep it forever even after giving them permission.

You can view your history by signing in to your Google Account (gmail) then clicking this link to access your Google Location History.

The Google Location History Screen
The Google Location History Screen

 

Use the calendar to browse individual days or even view a week or a month of time all at once. By dragging your mouse over the points on the map you can “play back” your entire day. At the bottom you can view the timeline of each day, which can also be navigated by clicking and dragging from left to right.

You can see I only left the house  once today, around 4:45pm to go to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner (mmm, the rolls!).  Let’s say I didn’t want that trip out to dinner recorded for some reason – I can click on the points I don’t want in my history and delete them.

Simply click on any point on your map and you can delete it.
Simply click on any point on your map and you can delete it.

 

 You can also delete the history for any single day, or all of your history.

Delete your daily history or your entire location history.
Delete your daily history or your entire location history.

 

It can be  interesting to look back and see where you were on a certain day, or even try to remember WHY you were in a certain place on a certain day. It can also be scary to have this kind of information floating around out there, so some of people may want to wipe their location history.