I don’t know if you know this, but Google is tracking your every move.
That’s right: if you have an Android device, then Google collects your location data all the time. It even puts that data into a neat little map so you can see exactly where you’ve been every hour of every day for your entire life (well, at least wherever you take your Android).
You can view your own location data map here.
Sure, some people may call it creepy. Others might say that it’s useful. I’ll admit that I’ve had a hazy night out on the town, only to turn to my phone’s location history to figure out where I went.
Whatever you want to call it, Google’s location settings can easily be turned off.
But Wait – Before You Delete It
I’m firmly a believer that Google’s location data isn’t creepy: it’s actually pretty cool. Google even provides you with a bunch of tools you can use to sift through that data and understand it.
Some of the cool things you can do with the data include:
-Check out the line graph at the bottom to figure out where you were at each minute of every day (yes, you can break down your location to the minute)
-Hit the “play” button and watch Google literally follow you throughout the day, retracing your steps
-Download data in 30 day increments into a KML file. You can then use this file to display your location history in Google Earth. I’m not really sure why you’d want to do that, but I guess it could be cool if you’re really bored.
-Check out your most-visited places by clicking in the lower left corner of the screen. You can see how long you’ve spent at each location in days. This feature appears to be a little spotty, as a house in California where I spent one short Christmas vacation is my second most-visited location. My local pub gets no love?
Ready to Delete Your Data?
Okay, if you’re sure you want to delete your data, then I’m not going to stop you. Google actually put together a help page that tells you exactly how to delete location data on each device: https://support.google.com/gmm/answer/3118687?hl=en
Here’s the fastest way to delete that data:
Step 1) Go to your Settings menu and look for the Location section
Step 2) Select Google Location Reporting, which will take you to a screen with Location Reporting and Location History
Step 3) Select Location History and tap the Delete Location History button at the bottom.
Step 4) If you don’t want Google to track your location history in the future, then you can permanently disable Google’s location tracking by sliding the On button to the Off position
When you turn this off, you’re preventing all Google apps from tracking you as well. You won’t get Google Wallet notifications, for example. Google Now also won’t be able to customize your “Google Now experience” based on your location.