Google Maps Is Tracking Your Location History

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Google Maps Is Tracking Your Location History

In a post Snowden world, personal privacy issues are in the spotlight more now than ever. It is no wonder that when a recent Google 'Feature' was discovered, concerns and fears of being tracked and watched took center stage.

Essentially if you have a phone with a Google sign on ( Android phones are your primary devices ) that device is keeping track of your phones location 24/7. This appears to happen as well no matter the privacy settings you have on your account!

Using THIS LINK you can visit the location history pages built into Google Maps. Just log in with the same username and password you use on your phone, and you'll instantly be shown a history for today. You can then select a day of the month, and see your travels populate before your eyes. You can even have it show multiple days at once.


What did I learn? Well aside from learning that Google knows everywhere I go and keeps a record of it, I learned I live in a little 9 mile bubble between my home and work. It isn't really a major surprise that Google is using my location. In fact, I already knew they were. Their Google Now learned my home address and work address, and recommends me alternate travel routes as well as estimated drive times. It is more that this information appears to be stored long term on their servers that is uncomfortable.


It is interesting to go and relive my travels. Here is a trip I made from home to Valparaiso, Indiana a few months ago. However, the fun quickly disovles when I come to the realization this is stored online, somewhere in the 'cloud', forever. There is one way to turn this off, and that is to disable 'Location Services' on your phone, but that not only kills Googles ability to track you, it stops anything location based from working on your phone. A major tradeoff between convenience and privacy.

*Update* A number of sources have reported you can't turn off history, but some users have reported they can sucessfully do so. You milage may vary and it is work checking and testing yourself!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2014 )
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