How To Fix ‘Your Timeline’ So Google Doesn’t Track Your Every Move

If you’re sick of feeling like Google is always up in your business, find a seat and take a deep breath before you read the following about one of its newest offerings – you may need it.

Ready? Ok, it’s a new feature called “Your Timeline” and part of Google Maps. If you’re an Android user and you’ve enabled the location-sharing feature required to use Google Maps to say, use Google Maps, congrats – you’re already using “Your Timeline.” Don’t believe it? Click here: https://www.google.com/maps/timeline

Feel free to read Google’s public justification for tracking everywhere you go here. In short, the PR spin is that “Your Timeline” will allow you to remember all the places you’ve been (or at least near in some cases). The company claims that the information is private and visible only to you.

Only you can decide how you feel about hearing that from a company that essentially uses your behavior to make money.

Either way, I’m not into it. Try as I might – even from a so-called devil’s advocate point-of-view – this is one where I really struggle to come up with any reason why I would want to know where I had lunch on this date two years ago. A few people I’ve shown this to before writing this were downright mad.

So click on the link above to open your verison of “Your Timeline” and this guide will help you put an end to being tracked and help you delete where you’ve already been tracked (Note: I’ve blacked out some of my personal info nonessential to this guide):

I’ll call this the Screen of Shock, because that’s how it felt. You will see something similar from where you live and travel. You can zoom in, too, like to street level. According to Google, I’ve been to 120 places since early 2014, which happens to be when I started using my new Android-based smartphone.  If you click on the red box in your version of the screen below, you get details of where you’ve been. I saw this and was NOT happy.

Timeline

 

There are a series of pop-ups with cute cartoonish images. I didn’t find any of this cute.

 

TimelineB

 

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Ok, enough of this. Click “Pause Location History” along the bottom. You will get another pop-up to make sure you don’t want to be tracked. Click “Pause.”

TimelineE

 

Once you’ve paused location history, you may want to delete what’s been tracked so far. Click on the “settings” button first (the one that looks like a gear), then click on “delete location history.”

TimelineF

 

When you’re sure you don’t want to know that day you ran to Home Depot for a plunger two years ago, click “delete location history.” Don’t forget to click the box indicating you understand you will never have access to such useful info ever again. 

TimelineG

 

See the first screen above, with the 120 locations I’ve been to? This is what is looks like now. I’m much happier with this – hope you will be with your results, too!

TimelineI

 

By the way, if you are really interested in finding out what else Google knows about you, be sure to learn more about its new privacy hub.

 

Posted in: News

About the Author:

Andrew is a writer and producer/content developer for Roadtreking.com and the PC Mike Techcast at PCMike.com. He has been a professional storyteller for 16 years, building a successful career as a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist. Andrew's work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Oshkosh Northwestern, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Crain’s Chicago Business, Advertising Age, Automotive News, Waste News, Appleton Post-Crescent, and Real Detroit.