Google Maps Enhances Location Control with New Features on Android and iPhone

Technology

The latest enhancements offer users increased transparency and control regarding their location data, enhancing the overall user experience

Google has traditionally leveraged location data to enhance its services, particularly through Google Maps. While this data facilitates features like turn-by-turn directions and personalized recommendations, concerns around privacy have emerged. In response, Google has introduced a series of new features aimed at providing users with increased control and transparency over their location data in Maps.

These additions will complement existing features such as auto-delete and Incognito mode on Google Maps. According to Google, the new features are designed to empower users with enhanced transparency, allowing them to assert control over their personal data to ensure its safety and privacy.

Timeline Feature:

The primary update is the introduction of the Timeline Feature, enabling users to review past locations and experiences by saving the data directly on their device. This update, integrated with the Location History setting, grants users more ownership and control over their data. Users can delete all or part of their Timeline information at any time or disable the setting entirely. Google also provides an option to back up Timeline data to the cloud, ensuring automatic encryption for data confidentiality. This feature facilitates data backup when users switch to a new phone.

Default Auto-Delete Control:

Google has adjusted the default auto-delete control for Location History to three months (previously set to 18 months), offering users more flexibility in determining how long their data is stored.

Delete Activity Data for Specific Places:

Users now have the ability to view and delete all recent activity data related to a specific place, encompassing searches, directions, visits, and shares. This centralized feature within Maps empowers users to easily manage privacy and maintain control over their location footprint.

Access to Key Location Controls:

The blue dot, symbolizing the location in Maps, receives more controls with the update. Users can now access key location controls by tapping the blue dot. This includes a quick overview of Location History and Timeline settings, along with permissions for Maps to access the device’s location. Users can also check whether Maps has access to their device’s location, enhancing transparency and control over data usage.

Google emphasizes that these updates are gradually rolling out on Android and iOS platforms throughout the year. Users will receive notifications when the update becomes available for their accounts.

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