back to top
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeTravel AdviceGoogle Maps Timeline: An Invasive But Useful (Self) Spy Tool

Google Maps Timeline: An Invasive But Useful (Self) Spy Tool

I am catching up on my two final trip reports (see Punxsutawney TPOL: Leaving My Basement Trip Report). Since it has been four years and since I didn’t smartly take notes or take photos of the names of restaurants, I am having difficulty recalling where I went. Writing that you must try this excellent Georgian restaurant in St. Petersburg is of no use if I can’t remember the name let alone the location. As a sleuth, I started my investigation by looking at the photos that I did have. With no clues there, I typed in “Georgian restaurant St. Petersburg.” Here’s what came up:

a map of a restaurant

Khochu Kharacho was another restaurant that I visited and recommend, but not the one that I was writing about. I clicked on ‘Your past visits’ and found this:

a screenshot of a menu

Tarkhun was a place I tried to go but was closed (see Guns & Butter: St. Petersburg Travel Guide). Almost at a dead end, I clicked on Location History and was taken aback at what I discovered.

a map of the world with red dots

Since I have “location” on my phone set to “on,” Google tracks all my movements. I have location set to “on” so I can search my photos based on location. I didn’t appreciate that Google knew more about my movements than the federal government. Detouring from my Russia trip report, I started entering random dates to see what would come up. Look at the play by play for how I spent New Years in Hong Kong and Australia two years ago (see TPOL Down Under).

a screenshot of a map a screenshot of a phone a map of a city a screenshot of a screen shot of a ferris wheel a screenshot of a map

It’s creepy, if not disturbing, that it knows I flew somewhere, drove somewhere, and walked somewhere. It may be useful and fun for recalling trips but monitoring my daily life? That’s a bit much.

Ultimately, I found the name of the restaurant, and it was Uzbek not Georgian. I should say Google found the name of the restaurant (see Baklazhan Restaurant Review).

a map of a citySamsonite, I was way off.




  1. Would rather not have any company know my movements in such detail. Yes, carrying a cell phone in itself does tend to let someone know your llocation, but not to the level of detail that Google knows.

Leave a Reply