Sunday, August 17, 2014

Playing with Google's location services

I have quite an exciting life, at least that's what Google says. Because I am quite an active traveler. In fact, I travel an entire country on a weekly basis. Of course, that doesn't really count considering that the country in question is Singapore, but then again, Singapore isn't entirely small you know.

In case you're wondering where am I getting all this information from Google, it's actually pretty simple. As long as you're an Android user who relies heavily on Google Maps (or according to some being an Android user is enough), chances are that you may have your location being tracked and stored constantly without your knowledge. Especially if you're someone who has GPS and data constantly switched on like me (screw you, Ingress). 

Best of all? Google will even draw a nice map of your past locations out for you, marked in festive red dots. Here's mine, for example, information collected over the past month.

round and round the island of Singapore I go


While some are completely freaked/creeped out by this fact (you can check out whether Google has been tracking your location here), I somehow find it quite interesting though to see how my life is. In case you're wondering why am I consistently moving from one end of Singapore to the other, I must admit that I am caught in the unfortunate situation where my home is in the west while my work is in the east. Which means that I travel consistently almost everyday. Like three to four hours of my typical day is spent on public transport. And I wonder why I don't have enough time for myself.

You can switch the settings of the location too to just show only a week worth of data, and for me, the week data don't look very much different to me than the monthly one.


my typical week


Not everyone has their location stored by Google though, at least a few of my friends who don't have, and you can change your settings in case you're feeling paranoid, like if someone wanted to kidnap you or something. As for me, the map kinda confirms how adventurous I am daily. You should try too, and see what the map tells you. Because I think your pattern of travel can reveal a lot about yourself.

The only good thing from all of this? I finally know why my EZ-Link card has a higher income than me.


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