How Google Knows Everywhere You've Been

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In the age of the internet, we need to accept that we don't really have any privacy. Web sites know what we like, and which pages we visit. They sell that information to advertisers, so they can display eerily relevant adverts that make it clear they've been watching our every move.

Intelligence agencies like MI5 and the CIA probably track all of our movements too, and can find out where someone was last Tuesday. Probably.

Actually, the location tracking thing is a reality. A worrying one. And one that might just surprise you.

Do you have an Android phone? Do you have a Google account (ie, do you use sites such as gmail or youtube?). If the answer to both of those questions is yes, and if you haven't actively turned off location tracking, Google knows where you've been because your phone keeps sending its location back to Google's servers. And if you want to see all that information, nicely plotted on a map (a Google map, obviously), you can.

Fire up your web browser and head to https://maps.google.co.uk/locationhistory for something which might surprise you. See all those little red dots on the map? That's where you've been recently. And while Google promises that the data is viewable only by you, they clearly overlook the fact that it's also available to anyone who knows your Gmail login details.

Take a look at your own location history, and prepare to be amazed at how much information the internet clearly knows about you.

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Comments

The dark underbelly of freeware: if you don't pay for the product, you ARE the product. Still, the mapping service mentioned is excellent.

Frankly, if that surprises anyone than that person must have slept well for a long, long time already.

Most of us want the convenience of getting local information like weather, gas prices, traffic alerts and so on.

Every "convenience" has a cost; with location services the cost is the loss of freedom to move around unobserved.

Indeed, it says much for the society most of us live in here that we are prepared to give up this cost.

We could if wanted, pull the SIM card out of the mobile and only use Orweb or InBrowser on a mobile only with public WIFI using an app like wifi free.

The location tracking thing is a reality but it's worrying only if you are going to specific locations. Obviously with millions of people moving simultaneously the tracking systems used by the NSA have to have filters to eliminate the "white noise" which is the mundane activity of most users just doing routine stuff that doesn't trigger any flags.
P.S. Last Tuesday I spent the entire day in bed sick....honest.

For those of you that use gmail and andriod, to see what it looks like go into your gmail account and then cut and paste this URL into the address bar. https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/1/ If you use an iPhone go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations to see it.