Google Maps Will Now Store Your Location History On-Device

It can be easy to forget sometimes, but Google keeps track of all places you’ve been through the Timeline feature and uploads them to the cloud so you can look at it from any device. It’s meant to be a “convenient” feature, but it can get problematic, especially if other eyes that are not yours get access to that data. That’s why Google is moving it away from the cloud and for your device’s eyes only.

Google Maps is overhauling its location data storage practices, shifting from cloud-based backups to local storage on users’ devices. The change, part of what might be an increased focus on privacy by, means you will no longer be able to access your Timeline history via the web after December 1st. It’s a big tradeoff to take into account if you happen to be a frequent user of that feature, especially from the browser—I know I’ve checked info about past trips a few times from my browser. At the same time, the prospect of someone being able to access your Google account and see all the places you’ve been, including the roads you took, in pretty deep detail is probably pretty scary.

If you’re not familiar with the feature, Timeline tracks users’ routes and trips based on their phone’s location data. Instead of linking this information to Google accounts, the data will now be tied to individual devices. So you will still be able to access the data, just not from your computer or from any device that you didn’t take with you to your travels.

You have until December 1st to save your travel history to your mobile device. After that date, Google will attempt to transfer the most recent 90 days of data to the first device a user signs into Google on, deleting any older data. To continue using Timeline, users must adjust settings in the Google Maps app on their mobile devices. They can choose to retain location data indefinitely until manual deletion or opt for automatic deletion after three, 18, or 36 months. This is not the only move Google has taken to protect users and their privacy, as the company has taken measures such as removing sensitive locations from history and limiting authorities’ access to location data, but this is certainly the most drastic.

You still have a few months to manually backup your location info if it’s something you care about, but the clock is ticking.

Source: The Verge

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