Google already holds a prolific dossier about what people do, and now it wants to know where they go.
A new tool, called “Your Timeline,” uses Maps to record all of the places people have been for the purpose of retracing steps after the fact. It only works if people have location history activated — Google helpfully opts people into the tracking — and currently available for Android app users and some desktop users
In a blog post, the company cheerfully said that Your Timeline “allows you to visualize your real-world routines, easily see the trips you’ve taken and get a glimpse of the places where you spend your time.” And if you use Google Photos, the tab will pull up pictures from the location if you took a picture there.
Big Brother never sounded like such fun! Granted, the uses for “Your Timeline” are good for fans of data visualization and people who don’t use a check-in app like Swarm so they can seamlessly remember a new restaurant or store. And Google promises to keep the data away from others.
Needless to say, some Twitter users were spooked by the search-and-advertising giant introducing another data-collecting tool that tracks your every move.
This is great and scary. Wonder how much of my China trip – where Google apps are blocked – was recorded? https://t.co/qygLONxMj3
— Don Cornelius (@Cleanhead) July 23, 2015
Google Maps is rolling out an INSANELY creepy feature called “Timeline.” It shows you exactly where you were on… https://t.co/u8qporyJ3b
— bubba culpepper (@culpepper_bubba) July 23, 2015
Google knows everything it’s scary.
— Aysha Ridzuan (@ayshardzn) July 22, 2015
Incredibly cool new Google Maps feature is also terrifyingly scary https://t.co/ytzYGjbCxB
— ja bip (@bip_ja) July 23, 2015
Thank you, but no. Google Maps launch timeline to show you where you have been: https://t.co/uTfegon40M
— Gina Myers (@ginamyers) July 23, 2015
The new “Timeline” feature of Google maps is cool…but creepy…but cool…but creepy…
— TheRunnerDad (@TheRunnerDad) July 23, 2015