It is fun to travel and go to different places, trying out new things. However, sometimes, it becomes a problem to recall what you did and on what day. This is especially so if you’re constantly on the road.
Is that your case? If so, you have to try out one of Google’s map features – Timeline. What is it? How does it work? Is it safe to use? And how do you get started? Are one or more of these questions on your mind? If so, you are on the right page.
In this article, you'll find answers to each of these questions. So, to get started, what is Google's timeline?
What Google Timeline is
Timeline is Google’s map location-history feature that allows you to discover places you have visited in the past. All your travels, as well as your regular day-to-day commuting, are recorded when you have the timeline setting on.
But that's not all. Google timeline doesn't only give you insights into places you may have been to. It also lets you see what you did and at what time. The following are the details this tool allows you to recall:
Your home and work. By saving the respective addresses of where you live and work, you can find your way from wherever you are.
Google timeline allows you to remember when you last visited a place. It saves all details regarding a visit, namely – the date, time, and location.
In addition to the two basic details above, Google can give you insight into the last movie you viewed in a theatre. How? It does this by checking on public showtimes. Then based on the time you were at the theatre; Google can guess the movie you watched. Isn't that impressive?
This tool also tells you the route you've passed through and what transport means you used.
But you might ask: Why enable the timeline feature? After all, you won’t forget where you work and live. Neither will you need to recall your mode of transport on a certain day. Well, that’s true. Still, there are several situations where many have found this tool useful. Some of these are discussed below:
4 Benefits of Timeline
1. It helps you avoid traffic
Does this sound far-fetched? Well, it is not. As seen earlier, you can save locations on Google Maps. By so doing, it can give you reports on traffic situations from where you are to where you're going.
It can also help you discover the shortest and freer route. By following the suggested route, you can arrive at your destination quickly.
2. It allows you to find your phone's location
Google timeline can sometimes be the solution you need to track down a misplaced or stolen device. However, for that to work, you needed to have turned on the timeline feature on that phone.
Then, all you need to do is log into your timeline with another device. Once you do, you’ll see the location of your missing device. If your timeline had been turned off (in the case of theft), you can try checking out the last recorded location.
3. It provides SERP results suited to you
Local SERP results are very beneficial as they can help you find what you need and where you can get it. For instance, by searching hair salons near me, you will find several relevant shops around you. That is, as long as your Google location is turned on.
4. It allows you to check up on a favorite spot
Have you visited a well-furnished restaurant with mind-blowing delicacies and impressive customer service? Do you want to revisit but can't remember the name? Not to worry, your timeline's got you covered. Get access to – not only the name – but also the location and how to get there quickly.
Is Google Timeline Safe?
Your location is a piece of important information. If that info falls into the wrong hands, you'll be giving yourself out to property damage, theft, and other dangerous situations. Hence, you need to keep your travel details private.
But with Google Timeline constantly tracking and recording where you've been, you may ask: "is it safe? What if my location history gets hacked?”
Well, you’re not alone. Many are not comfortable with the information Google timeline holds about them. Although Google assures its users that the timeline feature is safe, the thought of the worst-case scenario happening is too risky for some to bet on.
With many conflicting views, what should you do? Well, that depends on you. However, like all your other Google apps (including your account), it is essential to note that Google treasures users' private info dearly.
So, like how all your notes on Google Keep or your pictures on Google Photos can't automatically appear on the net – except if you decide to upload them yourself – your timeline records are also safe.
Even with that, Google also provides an option to delete your records and turn off any further tracking. How do you do that?
How to Control your Timeline Settings
The following steps will help you to delete your history and disable the timeline feature:
Launch Google’s Map app and tap your profile photo.
Select "Timeline" and click on the 3-dot menu.
Navigate to privacy settings, then choose "Location Settings.
You can decide to erase all location history or some by selecting the respective options.
Go back to the privacy settings menu to turn off "location history. You can turn it on once again in that location.
As seen throughout this article, Google Maps' timeline is a tool that offers tons of benefits. From finding missing devices to discovering safe and fast routes, it comes in handy in various situations.
However, the decision to use it lies solely on you. If you are worried about your details coming out into the open, Google assures you of your safety. And it goes further to provide you with a turn-off option.
Whatever you decide, note that Google timeline gives you access to years' worth of activity that you might have long forgotten. For many, that benefit is too good to miss out on.