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Google Maps to Give Users More Control Over Location Data

Google Maps to Give Users More Control Over Location Data

Ivana Shteriova
Google announced some major updates to Google Maps that will give users more control over their location data.

With these latest updates, users will be able to store location history locally on their devices for greater privacy, delete location history related to specific locations, and access key location controls from Google Maps’ blue dot, an icon that marks the user’s current location.

Previously, Map users who had their Location History enabled were able to access their location activity in the cloud and in the Timeline feature. The latest update allows users to save the Timeline directly on their device. Users can also keep their location activity in the cloud so it doesn’t get lost. Google will encrypt the backup, meaning not even Google will be able to access it.

The Google Maps update will allow users to see and delete all their activity related to a specific location with just a few taps. Google’s blog post exemplifies the usefulness of this option for planning “a surprise birthday party” where the user can delete any location history related to party planning. However, the ability to delete place-related activity from Maps could find use in more serious cases like protecting domestic violence victims and witnesses in court.

The latest Google Maps update brings a shorter auto-delete Location History period, from 18 months to three months. This means Google will automatically delete location activity older than three months. That said, users can extend this period or disable the auto-delete function altogether.

Additionally, Google will give users more control over their activity right from the blue dot, the icon that marks one’s current location. A tap on the blue dot will allow users to see whether their Location History or Timeline is enabled and whether the Maps app can track their location and manage these settings according to their preferences.

These features are rolling out to iOS and Android in the coming weeks. Users will receive a notification when the Maps updates become available on their account.

Recently, Google announced several new AI features for Google Maps that are already available in selected regions. The tech giant is infusing AI into its products on a large scale to enhance the user experience and keep a competitive edge over its supercharged AI rival Microsoft.

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