The price of free
A couple months ago Google unveiled busy times for local businesses. I imagine they are taking the same technology used by Waze for tracking traffic patterns. Basically the idea is that most people have location sharing enabled on their android devices for Google services. Google collects this data and aggregates it into a giant database. They then process this data to pull pertinent information. In other words, we provide free data to Google and in return Google provides us with better directions, real time traffic updates, and the best time of the week to go to the DMV.
At first this realization totally creeped me out. At this point, I think Google knows more about me than my fiance. Google records all of my searches, scans my email, listens to my voicemails, and records my personal location.
But at the end of the day, the price of this data is worth the loss of privacy. Before Hotmail and Gmail , your email was either tied to a personal email server ($$$) or through your internet provider (firstname.lastname@example.org). Google voice also provides me really nice proxy number for all those annoying services that require a phone number. Before google maps… I used actual maps to get around. Now I have a device that tells not only directions, but also which of many routes is the fastest with current traffic patterns. It would be very difficult to give up these services as they are so ingrained into my life now.
Google has also made all of your information available. At this moment, you can go out and download all of the information Google records.
I decided to pull down my information and over the next month or so I will post some maps and graphics.
Here are the counties I visited in 2014. I symbolized by the number of days spent in each county.