Google to give users of Google Maps greater control over their data

Google is making a big change to how it stores location history data, such as the places a user of Google Maps has visited and trips they’ve gone on, across both Android and iOS. This change is part of Google’s drive to give users increased control over their data.

Currently location history data is tied to a user’s Google account and stored on Google servers, but throughout the next year, changes will be rolled out and such data will instead be saved locally to a user’s device. There will also be the option to back up your data to the cloud to prevent it getting lost if your device breaks or to help when switching to a new device. If you enable this optional feature, Google will automatically encrypt your backed-up data so no one can read it, including Google.

Another change coming to the Timeline functionality, which was previously called Location History, and which you still have to manually enable, is that auto-delete will now default to three months instead of 18.  However, users can opt for their location history data to be kept on their device until they manually delete it if they prefer or can set it to auto-delete after a greater period, such as 18 months.

Google first announced this change in December 2023 as part of its efforts to make improvements to privacy. The company previously began deleting locations, such as abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, weight loss centres, and more, from location history and updated Maps to prevent authorities from accessing location history.


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