I love traveling so much that I often find myself journeying places that I have no clue about. And one gadget that always proves handy in my trips, be it on foot or in my car, is my Android phone. Whenever I find myself isolated, that nifty Google Maps app instantly comes to the rescue. But recently when I found that Google has been tracking my location – okay, maybe I’m a bit late to the party – it creeped me out a bit. If you are also using a Google device or service (which most of us are, these days), than odds are the search engine giant might be tracking your location data too, especially using a Google Map featured called Google Location history. Fret not though – Google lets you disable it if you want. In this short guide, I will explain what Google Location history is and how to keep it from recording your location info.
Google Location History is a web-based dashboard that allows you to view places you’ve been visiting, as well as the routes you opted to visit them. Google gathers this data mostly via its Google Maps and Google Now services, though there could be other Google offerings at play as well.
Each location is plotted on Google Maps, letting you know where were you at each day. You can click a date on the integrated calendar to access location information that belongs to that particular day only, which is indicated by red lines as well as minuscule dots for the actual spots on the map.
To see if you also have location history enabled, head over to the Google Maps Location history page. If you can see those red lines that I’ve just mentioned above, that means Google is gathering your data. If you want to disable this feature, click the small gear button, followed by History Settings.
Here, you can choose to disable or enable this service. This page also explains the type of data it gathers. Furthermore, you might want to take a closer look at Privacy Reminder if you want to leave it enabled. To remove this feature, click the ‘Disable’ radio button, followed by ‘Save’.
Now here’s the tricky part: disabling location history does not mean that Google will remove your past history. If you want to remove that too, simply go back to the main Location History page and look just below the calendar widget on the left side. There, you will see options to delete all history or only the information about a particular date. By default, it displays the current month and day, though you can use the small arrow buttons to navigate to previous months. That said, you may also export your location history data to a KML file.
While allowing Google to record your location can be useful at times, if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep such information strictly private, then disabling location history will be a good idea.