Google Tracks Users Wherever They Go: See Your Own Map

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Google tracks movements of users of its mobile devices or mobile apps.

The visualization of that tracking, however, can be pretty startling, and now it is easy to see a history of how Google has tracked where you’ve been.

This week, Steven Tweedie at Business Insider published an article detailing the Google feature that lets users see the history of where they’ve been. Google itself is offering detailed instructions of what the location reporting and location history means and how to control it.

If you are logged in to your Google account, clicking this link will take you to the Google location history page that will show you your travel history, with a red line showing where you’ve traveled, and little red dots indicating the time your location was registered at that point with Google servers.

For the privacy conscious, this is definitely a feature you’ll want to turn off, which can be done fairly easily according to Google. To disable the location tracking, following these steps:

1) Open Google Settings from your device’s apps menu.

2) Touch “Location”.

3) Touch the box next to “Access location.” The setting turns off when the checkmark disappears.

4) To turn this setting back on, simply touch the box next to “Access location” until a checkmark appears.

The map in the image attached to this blog post is actually my 30-day travel history within the Seattle area. In the back of my mind, I always knew that my location was being shared or available via some form of mobile services, but seeing this visualization, with hundreds of points acknowledging my location, when I was there, on which dates, and where I was going was…startling to say the least.

Having said that, I’m strangely intrigued by being able to see the history, and am not certain I want to deactivate it.

For those who do want to deactivate this feature though, and who are angry Google has the information to begin with, when you visit the location services page you have the option to delete the location history Google already has on you.

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  • MrDavidMiller

    I think its interesting to see where they got things drastically wrong. In the last 5 days Google placed me in Boise, ID (never been there in my life) and Richfield, UT (I’ve driven through on roadtrips but not in the last few years) among other locations which are at least plausible (even if their timestamps demonstrate that they are also faulty).

  • Davidcarondc

    I’m happy to see that when I checked mine that I had had history turned off. whew!