Google Maps change means you should act now to preserve your Timeline

The Location History feature of Google Maps landed the company in hot water in the past with privacy advocates citing concerns about what data is collected and what it retained by the company.

A couple of years back, Google responded to the controversy by making it easier to automatically delete the places visited and routes taken after a set period of time, or turn the admittedly helpful feature (rebranded as Timeline) off entirely.

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Now Google is living-up to a vow to end support for the feature on the web completely and is advising customers to download their Timeline data to the Google Maps app on their device.

From today, Google is only saving Timeline information (for those who have it enabled) directly to the devices users are signed in on. Using multiple devices? You’ll have unique timelines for all devices, rather than one unified Timeline.

The company will take Timeline on the web offline on December 1, meaning those who don’t download the data to their device beforehand will lose the location history stored on the web older than 90 days.

In an email sent to customers today (published by Android Police), the company writes: “If you’d like to keep your saved visits and routes, choose your settings on your preferred smartphone by December 1, 2024. (You may first need to update the Google Maps app.) After you do this, you’ll only be able to use Timeline in the app. If you take no action, you may lose data.

“Google will try moving up to 90 days of Timeline data to the first signed-in device you use after December 1, 2024. Your older data will be deleted. Timeline will also remain on for your account, and your devices will continue saving new visits. Your visits and routes older than 3 months will be auto-deleted.”

If you switched your Location History / Timeline data off already, this is just a case of as you were. If you want to keep where you’ve been available, for posterity purposes, do as Google recommends above.

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