Google Maps Changes Data Storage Policy

Google Maps is implementing a significant change in the way it manages location data for its users. Instead of storing this data in the cloud, Google will now save it directly on users’ devices. This shift is a part of the company’s broader effort to enhance user privacy and security.

Previously known as Location History, Timeline is a feature in Google Maps that documents users’ movements and trips based on their device’s location. Users have until December 1st to save their travel history on their mobile devices before Google begins deleting older data. This move marks a departure from linking all this information to users’ Google accounts and instead associating it with their specific devices.

Google made the announcement regarding this change back in December 2023, emphasizing its commitment to strengthening privacy measures. The company has already taken steps to remove sensitive locations like abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, and weight loss centers from location history. Additionally, Google has updated its Maps platform to prevent any unauthorized access to users’ location history.

One consequence of this transition to on-device storage is that users will no longer be able to access their Timeline data from the web starting in December. Without enabling the new Timeline settings by the specified date, Google will transfer the last 90 days of travel history to the first device a user signs in to. Any data predating this period will be permanently deleted.

To continue using the Timeline feature, users must take specific steps. They need to open Google Maps on their mobile devices, click on their profile picture in the top-right corner, and select “Your Timeline.” From there, users can choose whether to retain their location data indefinitely until manual deletion or opt for automatic deletion after three, 18, or 36 months. Google will save the selected data directly on users’ devices.

Google’s decision to alter its data storage policy for Google Maps reflects a broader industry trend toward prioritizing user privacy and data security. By shifting to on-device storage, Google is giving users more control over their location data and offering enhanced protection against unauthorized access. It is crucial for users to take the necessary steps to ensure continued access to their Timeline data and make informed decisions about their data retention preferences.

Internet

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