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article imageGoogle's 'scary' new iOS feature shows you everywhere you’ve been

By James Walker     Apr 24, 2017 in Technology
Google has launched a new controversial feature for the iOS version of its Maps app. "Your Timeline" tracks every location you visit and shows your movements on a graph. Already available on other platforms, it has been criticised by privacy groups.
Google's description of Your Timeline suggests it could be used to help you return to places you meant to visit but ended up forgetting. Whether it's a nice store you want to return to or a location you found while out on a walk, Your Timeline will help you by showing your movements over the past few days on a map.
Your Timeline has previously been confined to Android and desktop users. Last week, Google began rolling it out to iOS as well, creating a new flurry of attention around the potentially invasive feature. It's now an important point of the app, appearing on location place cards and business cards to let you see when you last visited and help you "rediscover" the experience.
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google
"Whether you use Your Timeline to remember your last vacation or what you did last weekend, it’s a useful way to see your life on the map and recall the places you went and activities you enjoyed on any given day, month or year," said Google.
Your Timeline keeps a log of every notable Google Maps location and business that you visit. Although your phone's location services have to be on for it to activate, it's possible Timeline could be enabled and then forgotten about by some users. Google suggests the feature is meant to offer you a "snapshot" of the day but the information within could be sensitive.
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google
When Your Timeline was first unveiled in 2015, it was described as "terrifyingly scary" by some news sites. Critics noted that Google aggregates data across its services to create the live feed. It will pull in information from other Google apps, such as Photos, to create a detailed timeline that includes everywhere you've visited with your phone, including personal memories.
While these fears haven't lessened with the iOS update, Google has expanded the controls available to you in an attempt to suggest the concerns are unfounded. You can remove locations or edit them if they're inaccurate. If you want to delete a larger set of data, options are available to erase the current day's history, data between a range of dates or everything collected by the app.
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google Your Timeline on iOS
Google
Google's also added another feature to Your Timeline that sends you monthly email summaries of your movements during the past 30 days. It lets you revisit places you went to during the past month, reveals the activities you engaged in the most and presents trends in your regular locations. For some users, this is likely to appeal, allowing them to relive memorable moments. To others, it'll be another worrying privacy concern.
Your Timeline is available now in the Google Maps app on iOS as part of an update that launched last week. It needs to be manually enabled before you can start logging your life and Location History must be turned on. It's accessed from a dedicated link in Maps' menu, underneath "Your places."
More about Google, Google maps, your timeline, Ios, Privacy
 
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