Types of location data used by Google

What types of location do you use on Google?

We may collect and use a few types of location information – depending on the products and features that you’re using – to provide you with a more useful experience on Google.

Implicit location information is information that does not tell us where your device is located, but allows us to infer that you are either interested in the place or that you might be at the place. An example of implicit location information would be a manually typed search query for a particular place. Implicit location information is used in a variety of ways. For example, if you type in 'Eiffel Tower', we infer that you may like to see information for places near Paris, and we can then use that to provide recommendations about those local places to you.

When you use or interact with a Google product, your device sends explicit location information to Google to enable us to provide the service. Explicit location information contains information about where you or your device is located, either based on device sensors, GPS or Wi-Fi. We also use the IP address, which is sent as a normal part of Internet traffic information. Every device connected to the Internet is assigned a number known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. These numbers are usually assigned in geographic blocks. An IP address can often be used to identify the geographic block from which a device is connecting to the Internet, and do things such as provide you with the correct language for search queries. Some products, such as turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps for mobile, require precise location information. For these products, you typically have to choose to turn on device-based location services for your device, which are services that use information such as GPS signals, device sensors, Wi-Fi access points and mobile tower IDs that can be used to derive or estimate precise location. You can choose to turn the device-based location services off at any point.

What is Location History?

Location History is a Google account-level setting that saves where you go with every device that your account is signed in to, giving you personalised maps, recommendations based on places that you’ve visited, help finding your phone, real-time traffic on your commute and more. Location History is turned off by default for your Google account. You must opt in to turn on Location History for your Google account and can disable it at any time in your Google account activity controls. You control what’s saved in your Location History, and you can delete all or part of your history at any time using Timeline.

Location History will include location information that Google receives from Location Reporting, which is a device-level setting that allows your device to send location data back to Google for use in Location History.

If you have multiple devices with a signed-in Google Account, you can choose to report location from specific devices, or all devices. If you do not want certain signed-in mobile devices to contribute to Location History, you can disable them from doing so via the Location Reporting settings on your device. Learn more

How is Location History used across Google?

Location History helps Google provide more personalised features to you across Google products and services. This personalisation may take many different forms, depending on what you are doing and what Google product you use. For example, Google Photos can use your Location History to add context to photos that you have taken, making it easier for you to find pictures when you want to show friends and family. Location History also helps Google to understand things such as your commute and provide suggestions on when to head home for the day.

How is Location History used in ads?

Location History may be used to determine which ads to show you and to measure advertising effectiveness. For example, to make ads more relevant, if you have enabled Location History and regularly frequent ski resorts, you might later see an ad for ski equipment when watching a video on YouTube. Google also uses Location History in an anonymised and aggregated manner to help advertisers measure how often an online ad campaign helps drive traffic to their physical shops or properties. We do not share your Location History or any other identifying information with advertisers.

How do I manage my Location History?

You can view and manage your Location History information through the Timeline feature in Google Maps, which is available to both mobile and desktop users. Timeline users can edit specific entries on their Location History, delete information from ranges in time or delete all their Location History entries. Learn more

You can also pause Location History at any time. This setting does not affect other location services on your device, such as Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, such as Search and Maps. This action will apply to all devices associated with your Google account that were previously reporting location to Google.

If you want to export your Location History from Google, you can download your data here. If you want to fully delete your Location History, you can do so by following the steps here.

How do I know if my Location History is on?

Location History is an account-level setting that you must opt in to before the places you go are saved to your Google Account. You can always review your settings to determine if you have enabled Location History. Learn more