Quick! Where were you last Tuesday at 6:35 PM?
If you’re anything like me, your answer is probably along the lines of “I… have absolutely no idea.” Most people’s brains just don’t work that way.
But odds are, Google knows. They probably know where you’ve been most other days, too. And they’ll happily show you, letting you relive your life one step at a time.
If you carry any Google-filled gear (like, say, an Android phone or tablet), there was a prompt during the initial setup that asked if Google could transmit your location data back to the mothership. This is that data. You know how Google Now can auto-magically figure out where you work and warn you about traffic? This is the data that makes that possible (or at least a good chunk of it.)
Now, something to note: if you’ve been paying close attention, you might have seen this before. It’s not new. In fact, it’s been around for years. And yet, I had a helluva time finding many people who knew about it, even when I asked amongst my geekier circles. So consider this a public service announcement of awesomeness. A PSAoA, if you will.
I use “awesome”, here, instead of “terrifying and creepy”, because this is all opt-in. It’s a bit spooky in its scale, of course; it’s mindblowing to think about just how much data they’re gathering. But any data that’s there is there because you gave them the thumbs up at some point, even if it was while mindlessly clicking through the setup of a new device. If you’re suddenly realizing that there’s a location or two that you’d rather weren’t sitting in your history (hey, I’m not judging), you can wipe it on a day-by-day basis or clean your entire location slate in one fell swoop.
Google launched the first version of this tool around the same time that they launched Latitude. After they killed Latitude off, they kept their location browser around, polishing it up and adding new little tricks as time went on.
One particularly cool bit: scrub your mouse cursor over the graph at the bottom. The map above will play back your day, movement-by-movement. I spent well over an hour yesterday reliving the last month of my life, trying to remember what each stop was for.
Oh, and that graph? It’s charting your distance over time relative to where you began your day (so, in most cases, your home), along with a readout of your furthest distance traveled for each day. Fun(/kind of depressing) fact: for 3 days after Grand Theft Auto IV came out, the furthest distance I went was the Jack In The Box across the street.
If you missed the link above, here’s the link to the location history browser.