Google Maps get more features, offering more control over your timeline and blue dot
Google recently announced a host of updates to its map app, Google Maps. The new features let you control your map’s Timeline and location history, on top of added controls for the blue dot (a.k.a. You, where you are now).
Timeline data now saved on-device
Timeline, the feature that helps you remember the places you’ve been to (and when) will have its data saved on-device. You’ll have to back the data up to the cloud if you want to transfer that information to a new phone. Fortunately, that data is encrypted, so even Google cannot pry into your location data.
Turning on location history for Timeline will also auto-delete archived information by default, removing anything three months old (previously 18 months). You can extend the archive by choosing a longer duration to expiry or turning off auto-delete altogether.
These updates apply to Android and iOS devices and will gradually roll out over the next year (2024).
Delete Google Maps activity easily
Previously, you could already delete timeline data you don’t need if you’re willing to spend time curating your information. Now, it’s easier to delete your recent activity.
To do so, tap on places you’ve been to, and scroll down to the “visits” subsection to make your changes. It doesn’t change the fact you’ve been there (location history) or any online searches about the place, but it does remove any reminders about going there.
This feature will be available on Android and iOS versions of Google Maps “in the coming weeks”.
More controls through your little blue dot
The “blue dot” on Google Maps represents your current location relative to the world.
That dot now offers more controls, like seeing your location history and Timeline settings easily accessible in a pinch. It works as a really nifty shortcut to any location settings you wish to have on Google Maps. This addition comes to Android and iOS Google Maps app in “the coming weeks”.
Currently, tapping the blue dot already lets you share your location with trusted loved ones, and it also helps you remember (roughly) where you parked your car.
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