Your History

So Google knows where I’ve been all Christmas? And has a map to prove it? Hmmmm…

The map below is not mine, of course. But, it’s furious scribbles all concentrated around the same area, somewhat resemble my monthly meanderings.


Ron Doyle’s Map.Source: Double Clicks.Info

So, if you have a smart phone, you really should know this: it acts as a sensor tracking your every move. And it thoughtfully maintains a record of that in Googleland.

Taken a holiday trip to Tahiti? Yep, a straight red line will map you on the 23rd of December and show your return on the 2nd of January. Been to see Santa on your last trip to the Big Smoke? Yep, that’s dated and marked on your map too.

The record is maintained for thirty days at a time. So, if I wanted a reminder of where I’d been say, on December 25th. Well, a quick check on google history would prove that I was at home.

No surprises there then.

It’s mildly entertaining. But my disquiet is drowning out my sense of fun.

Why on earth do I need to know where I was a month ago?

I don’t.

And why does Google want to know?

Probably everything got to do with selling me stuff. If I’ve been to Tahiti for Christmas, they’ll tempt me cruises to Christmas Island next year.

And can anyone else find out?

I imagine it would be a port of call for that detective who needs to track down my final movements when I fly the coop. All he’ll need is my smartphone log in account. Actually, google might even give him the information if he waves his ID at them and shows them a warrant, or something.

Anyone with my smartphone log in details can find out, of course. Can you imagine how many suspicious spouses are out there who have precisely that detail and are willing to use it? Or parents who want to track the whereabouts of their wayward kid?

But if they even feel the need to do that, then there’s an inherent trust issue in the first place. So there’s a problem before they even find out there’s a problem.

And my map shows there’s a problem too. For the past month, it’s like that two year old with the red crayon just hammered into one spot on the page. There’s an occasional squiggle due south, and another due east. But mostly, it’s just one scribble confined within a ten mile radius.

In other words, I’ve had a great Christmas. A damned slothful, all-you-can-eat-and-read binge with, regular forays, I should add, to my regular running spot. 

If I could zoom in close enough, I’d see a particularly dense spot in the living room, on the sofa, sprawled in front of the open fire. Zoom closer and you’ll see my books and newspapers. Zoom even closer and my lips are moving in a broad smile. Bliss.

Janathon? It didn’t even cross my mind. I was far too busy rearranging myself on the sofa.

So here I am, all nicely rested up and ready for a great 2015. Google location history almost says so.

And what am I going to do with my time ahead, you ask?

Keep on running and seeking out some interesting new locations.

I might just leave my smartphone at home though!

Have you known that your location history was available for viewing before reading this post?