Monday, July 15, 2024

Google could delete your Google Maps Timeline data in the name of privacy, so take action now

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For nostalgia heads, the Timeline feature of Google Maps is an enjoyable way to peek into the past. Previously known as Location History, Timeline works much likes Facebook Memories, helping jog your memory about trips you’ve taken and places you’ve visited.

But there are big changes afoot. Google is moving away from storing location data in the cloud to storing it on mobile devices instead. While this is privacy-boosting move, Google says that the change means that users could find their Timeline data is deleted unless they take action.

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Google shuttering Timeline on the web, switching to on-device data management. In terms of privacy and security this is great news for users, but it is not without consequences. One of the changes is that users who are signed into Google Maps on multiples smartphones will find that each device will save visits to its own Timeline rather than consolidating them.

The company has started to send emails to users of Google Maps who have enabled the Timeline feature, warning of the potential for data loss. As reported by Android Police, the email reads:

You previously turned on the Timeline setting — formerly called Location History — which helps you go back in time and remember where you’ve been. With Timeline, your visits and routes are automatically saved to a map on each of your devices.

Timeline is changing and will now be created on your device. As part of this, you’ll need to choose setting for your data by December 1, 2024 to avoid losing visits and routes.

Google goes on to says that anyone who fails to indicate that they’d like to keep saved visits and routes on their preferred smartphone could find that this data is deleted and cannot be recovered. The company advises users:

If you take no action you may lose data. Google will try moving up to 90 days of Timeline data to the first signed-in devices you use after December 1, 2024. Your older data will be deleted. Timeline will also remains on for your account, and your devices will continue saving new visits. Your visits and routes older than 3 months will be auto-deleted.

More information is available on this Google support page.

Image credit: Taner Muhlis Karag├╝zelDreamstime.com

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