The best part about road trips are the memories we make… Unfortunately, our memories aren’t always super reliable, especially as we get older. Fortunately, we have the technology to save the day when we just can’t recall the name of our favorite roadside attraction! Keep reading to learn how to use Google Timeline to revisit the past.
How to Use Google Timeline
“Hey hon, remember that time we went antiquing in Pennsylvania and I bought that really cool brass elephant, and then we found the place with the delicious whoopie pies? What was that town called?”
Welcome to my poor husband’s life! The crazy thing is that he always knows exactly what I am talking about and is somehow able to pull up the location and get us back there. I think this is pretty amazing, so I thought I would get a little technical and share a trick with you.
Did you know that Google has something called Location History? It is a Google Account setting that creates your Timeline, a personal map that helps you to remember places you go, trips you have taken, and routes to those destinations.
**An important note – you must have a Google account and be willing to have Google record your location history.**
How to Use Google Timeline:
Using Google Timeline is possible whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone. If not already installed, you will need to add Google Maps to your phone from the app store.
The first step to check if you are already set up and whether Google is aware of your locations. Try visiting your Google Timeline to see if it is already displaying your whereabouts. If so, you are ready to go!
If you aren’t yet set up, follow these steps:
1. Using a computer, turn on Location History for your Google Account using Google’s activity controls.
With location history enabled, Google will be able to record some of your activity. For the best results, allow your location history to be tracked in the background.
2. On your phone, go to the Settings for Google Maps and set the Location to Always On / Enable Background Activity.
3. To see your location activity, view your timeline on your computer at https://timeline.google.com/ or on your phone within the Google Maps app.
Google sometimes captures your exact location such as a specific store, but sometimes it might detect a broader area such as a strip mall or even just a town. You can often adjust the exact location by selecting what Google guessed and adjusting it.
One way to make sure Google knows where you are is when you are at a location, launch Google maps on your phone, select the current location and (if Google hasn’t already detected it) tap “Are you here now?”
How to Use Google Timeline to Find Past Locations
You can find previous locations either on your computer or using the Google maps phone app. On your computer, access your history at https://timeline.google.com/ or, in the phone app, click your profile picture at the top and then select your timeline.
On either your computer or phone, you can select a specific date and it will bring up the locations that were recorded, as well as an overview map for that day. Here you can also adjust any particular location if needed.
For any particular place, you can also see all the occasions you have visited!
Here is Google’s summary of the process: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3118687?hl=en
I know that some of this might be outside of your comfort zone. As a pretty private person, it feels very much outside of mine but I’m incredibly grateful every time I want to remember that special location we visited, and David is able to find it in a heartbeat. As someone who travels to a lot of different cities in the U.S. every year, often on my own, I am truly a wanderer and love to just make a turn onto any road and see where it takes me. Google Timeline is something that I am starting to use myself, but I will still depend on David to take care of our trips together.
Let me know how you use Google Timeline and whether you find it helpful. If you’d like to tag along on my adventures, follow me at https://www.oohilovethat.com/
Other artists tell Patty Levine, artist and owner of Ooh! I LoveThat, that she brings a calming presence to any space she enters, but as someone who tests cars while constantly traveling for her full-time job and runs Ooh! I Love That on the side, her life is anything but calm! View Patty’s Full Bio