Big change coming to Google Maps

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In response to concerns about the collection and use of personal data, Google is making a major change to Google Maps.

The tech giant first announced in December last year that it was making changes to the Google Maps Timeline feature, a “personal map that helps you remember your routes and trips, and places you’ve been, based on your location history.”

My timeline goes back a few years and shows me visiting places on the east coast of Australia and also a few countries overseas.

It’s handy for remembering where you’ve been and finding out how far you’ve traveled. You can make changes and deletions to the timeline.

But things will soon change.

Australian Google users who have their location history enabled – and that number is likely to be in the millions as it is enabled by default – will soon have timeline data stored on their device rather than in the cloud.

Google says this will give users more control over their data. The ability to delete information and disable the setting will remain.

As part of the changes, you can still choose to back up the data in the cloud, where it will be encrypted so that not even Google can read it.

Google will set the settings to automatically delete location data after three months by default, compared to the previous option of 18 months. The setting can be extended and automatic deletion can be disabled.

Google will notify users when the update is available in their account.

If you transfer the data to your device, you will no longer be able to access it over the web. If you don’t make changes to your settings, Google will delete everything older than the last 90 days of travel history.

This means that users who wish to save their older data should review their settings immediately.

To do this, open Google Maps, click on your profile picture and select “Your Timeline”. You can choose to keep your data or select an automatic deletion setting. You have until December 1st to change your settings, otherwise you risk losing the data.

As part of the changes, users will also be able to delete activities related to specific locations.

Google explained it this way: “Let’s say you’re planning a surprise birthday party and get directions to a nearby bakery to pick up the cake. Soon, you’ll be able to see all your recent activity on Maps related to the bakery in one place, and easily delete your searches, directions, visits, and shares with just a few taps. The ability to delete location-based activity from Maps will roll out to Android and iOS in the coming weeks.”

The “blue dot” that shows your location on the map has also been changed.

When you tap the blue dot during the update, your location history, timeline, and access settings will be displayed.

Google says it is committed to keeping user data “safe, private and under your control,” which is in line with the Australian Privacy Principles in Australia. Data Protection Act 1988.

As news.com.au reported last year, the government is planning sweeping changes to Australia’s privacy framework to “align the rules with global data protection standards and adequately protect the privacy of Australians”.

The proposals include moving closer to the European Union’s stricter approach to data protection, such as the “right to object, the right to erasure and the right to de-index search results”.

A corresponding bill could be presented to Parliament this year.

Read related topics:Google

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