Is Google Keeping Tabs On Where You Go?

Google Location Services

Google might be saving data on all the places you go, or more correctly, everywhere your phone goes. If you have Google Locations Services turned on, Google keeps a record of everywhere you go. If you don’t want Google to keep tabs on you, turn location services off.

In 2018 I was leading a photo safari in Michigan. I wanted Google to keep track of the trip so location services on. A few days ago I went back to check on that trip. To show you how much detail Google has, I did two screen captures (above). On the left is the map for June 11. On the right is part of the list of places we went June 11.

Michigan photo safari. Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

If the location list is long, you can scroll up and down the location list for the day. We started the day at Park of the Pines and drove to the Mackinac Bridge to take pictures. As you can see from the location list we were there from 9:10 am – 10:00 am. We had several more photo stops and our last photo stop was at Seney National Wildlife Refuge near Germfask Michigan. We were there until after sunset.

Photo safari, Seney National Wildlife refuge.

Here’s another example of the kind of detail Google keeps on your whereabouts. I was leading a four day photo safari in Colorado in 2019.

Google Location Services

This is the map for the first day and part of the location list. We began in Denver and ended the day in Montrose Colorado. As you can see from the location list, our first stop was Red Hill Ranch north of Fairplay to take pictures from 8:17 am – 8:27 am.  We stopped for snacks and a bathroom break in Fairplay from 8:38 – 8:48 am.  Later in the day we drove Ohio Pass and part of Kebler Pass.

Ohio Pass, Colorado

Sometimes Google Location Services makes guesses when you are driving in areas with no cell phone signal. If it loses you at point A and finds you again at point B, it draws a straight line on the map from A to B. That also throws off the distance traveled. Ohio Pass is a winding mountain road with no phone signal for much of the route. Google drew a straight line on the map from the south end of the pass to the north end. That happened several times during our Colorado photo safari. Other glitches in accuracy can occur, especially in distances traveled.

Colorado photo safari.

Personally, I do not see the need for Google to keep a record of everywhere I go so I do not have location services turned on all the time.  It is your choice whether you have Google Location Services off all the time, on all the time, or on some of the time. You can also delete past data.

How to access Google Location Services, turn it on and off, and find your past data, depends on your type of phone. Check the following links.


iPhone Location Services (Google Maps)

How to Enable/Disable Google Maps Timeline on your iPhone

Android Location Settings

Location Services on iPhone or Android