One of Google’s features available on all platforms, but working at its best on the Android smartphones and tablets, is how Google monitors and logs your locations and specifically the businesses you visit. It’s this tracking and logging information that Google Now taps into when pulling up cards for information purposes, which can also populate Google Maps to show you businesses that you often visit. Google have today launched a new product called “Your Timeline” that doesn’t add any new data collection service to Google Maps, but instead presents the information in an easier to view mode.
As you might suspect from the title, “Your Timeline” is not a social networking feature as it’s only available to you – just as your location history is only available to the account holder. However, whereas the location history website shows this information data arranged around Google Maps (and very interesting it is too), the timeline shows the location history arranged in a much more pictorial fashion. If you use Google Photos to backup, transfer and show off your photographs, the Your Timeline will show the location together with photographs from this site, business or place. The Google Maps product team explain it as such: “Have you ever wanted a way to easily remember all the places you’ve been â€” whether it’s a museum you visited during your last vacation or that fun bar you stumbled upon a few months ago? Well, starting today, Google Maps can help. We’re gradually rolling out Your Timeline, a useful way to remember and view the places you’ve been on a given day, month or year. 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.”
It’s unclear what this feature might allow us to do moving forwards, but a logical step might be to make it easier to rate and review businesses and places we visited, straight from this screen. The information is already used by Google Now and Google Photos to pull together those photo and video collections, but perhaps the “Your Timeline” might be a way to instigate these too? And finally, it is possible to turn this feature off, which but if your device tracking your location worries you then you have probably already disabled Google’s location tracking services. Because this information is only available to you, or rather to people with access to your Google account, there are no additional security worries here. You won’t need to hide that sneaky visit to the Cheesecake Factory from your significant other!