Google announced today it is bringing three new features to Google Maps that will give users more control over their personal information and location data. The navigation app will make it possible to delete activity related to specific places and access location controls right from the blue dot: your current location.
Right now, when you tap the blue dot on Google Maps, it shows details of your approximate location and offers shortcuts to save or share the area. However, in the upcoming update, this feature will add options for finding the location of your device and the history of the location.
Google Maps Will Now Store Your Location Timeline Locally Instead of in the Cloud
As a matter of privacy, by default, your location history is turned off when using Google Maps. If you have it turned on, then your Maps activity is saved in the cloud and can be viewed in the app’s Timeline – a feature that helps you remember places you’ve visited earlier.
You can still manually back up your Timeline data into the cloud so that it doesn’t get lost. Google says it will automatically encrypt the backed-up data so that no one will be able to read it, including the company.
Previously, when you first turned on Location History, the auto-delete control was set to 18 months by default. Now the setting will automatically delete any location data that is older than three months. Google still allows users to keep the data indefinitely if they prefer.
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Users Can Delete Searches, Directions, Visits, and Shares Related to a Specific Location
Presently, you can remove a place from your Timeline by tapping the “remove” option in the location overview. But if you had used Maps to view or get to that location, then that data will remain if Google Web and App Activity is enabled for your Google account.
You can view your recent activity on the app and delete the searches, directions, visits, and shares associated with the bakery.
This feature is particularly useful for users who might want to quickly erase all of their Maps activity related to a particular location.
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Android and iOS Users Will Receive the New Maps Update in the Coming Weeks
Google Map’s director of product Marlo McGriff wrote in the blog post that just like earlier, users can delete all or part of their information at any time. He also added that those who are getting a new phone or are worried about losing their existing one can always choose to back up their Maps data to the cloud so it does not get lost.
Google says the new features will be gradually rolled out “in the coming weeks” on Android and iOS. Maps users will receive a notification once the update has been released.