It's getting a little scary. A few nights ago I searched for airline flights in October. I'm taking a vacation at the end of the month, and I'm thinking about changing my flight. I typed into the keyword search box destinations, month, day, and year.
My itinerary served up in the google.com search results, telling me "only you can see this result." Not potential flights that I could take to and from my destination, but my actual flight schedule that Google had pulled from an email deep in the thousands I've saved over the years, and served it into a knowledge box titled "Upcoming flight."
Similar to the flight search results, Google has begun to give users a visual timeline of all the places they went on any given day or month. With help from Google Maps, the company will gradually roll out a feature called Your Timeline, which allows people to visualize their real-world routines, see the trips they took and get a glimpse of the places where they spent time.
Similar to the flight search results, today Your Timeline remains private and only visible to the person in which it applies. The potential for one slip by a Google developer or hacker to intertwine information or grab complete strings of data seems a bit too high as the Mountain View, Calif. company continues to piece together pockets of personal information. The more information made available in digital form, the higher the risk for theft.
While it's not clear whether advertisers will benefit from this data to improve ad targeting, for those who use Google Photos, Google will serve up the photos you took on the trip when viewing a specific day, to help stir memories, explains Gerard Sanz, product manager at Google, in a post.
With Your Timeline, you have even more ways to view and control your location data. And with last month’s launch of My Account, you can easily access and manage your Location History setting and all your Google settings in one place.
In June, Google announced My Account, which gives users on its network quick access to settings and tools that help safeguard an individual's data, protect privacy, and decide what information Google services can use. It also provides more context to help understand options and make the right choices.