This story was originally published and last updated .
It's almost shocking the extent to which smartphones have replaced dedicated cameras in many of our lives. Between the advanced optics, next-level image processing, and being able to share pics with just a couple taps, who would ever dream about lugging around an old-fashioned point-and-shoot digicam? But for as far we've come, there's still a lot of appeal in larger, more flexible cameras, with their big sensors and interchangeable lenses. As it turns out, you can use your phone to bring a little bit of extra smarts to even a dumb DSLR, helping to modernize your Google Photos pics with GPS info.
Incognito mode for Google Maps has been around since late last year, but if you haven't gone looking for it in recent months, you likely haven't noticed it was even there. For whatever reasons you may want to duck under the cloak of privacy, we'll show you exactly how to go incognito within Google Maps.
Last year, Google users could start limiting how long the company could hold on to their activity on apps, the web, and with location logging. But from today, the company will turn on these so-called auto-delete controls by default when people create new accounts and use its services. This is but one of a slew of changes it is making to improve user comfort on its platform.
Google Maps' Timeline feature might seem a little creepy if you're especially privacy-conscious — and you can turn off the Location History it uses if you are — but it's also tremendously useful, giving you a full timeline with maps showing all your movements. In fact, some folks depend on it for more than just novelty or tracking down that nice-looking restaurant they drove past the other day, many use it as a tool for logging miles and billing. Unfortunately, there have been several reports in the last few days of that location data entirely disappearing in Google's Timeline tool, though a fix is coming soon.
Human memory is a funny thing. You'll never be able to forget that time you embarrassed yourself in fifth grade, but you probably can't remember where you had lunch a few weeks ago. Google Maps can help with the latter. Your Maps Timeline remembers everywhere you go, but what if you want to remove some locations? That's about to get easier with bulk deletion support.
Google Maps has a creepy handy timeline feature that allows you to review where you've been. The latter is already integrated with Photos, allowing you to see pictures you've taken at a specific location. It's now gaining extra functionality, which can remind you what movie you've seen when you've visited a theater.
One of the biggest concerns in our modern online era is privacy — that is, how much you want certain corporations to know about your web habits, app usage, and location data. Some people don't care, others go to extreme lengths to remain anonymous online, and the rest of us fall in the middle. One of the more common concerns is with Google and its nigh monopoly on search and other online products, not to mention how much it knows about us.
It's been a bad year for data privacy — though it might be more accurate to say it's been a bad year for blissful ignorance. User data privacy issues are suddenly erupting into the spotlight after bubbling under the surface for years. While Facebook provided the most scandalfodder so far this year, Google hasn't been immune. One issue that gained widespread attention was its misleading representation of how Location History tracking works. After changing the wording on its support page in August, the company has now once more edited the page, moving to a description that is technically correct, but slightly more vague than its original fix.
Google's location-tracking practices endured a new wave of scrutiny at the start of this week thanks to an investigation by The Associated Press, which put some meat on the bones of suspicion many users have harbored for a while now. By week's end, Google updated some language on the help page for its Location History setting, though its tracking policies remain largely unintelligible for the everyday consumer. And to be clear, the company has not changed anything about how it actually tracks the location of its users.