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Google Now Seems to be Learning Contact Addresses When Traveling, Gives Time to Navigate to Them

google now friend location

A couple of weeks ago, I took a 5-day trip back to my home state of Montana to visit family and friends. I stayed with my dad, of course, but during the stay, I noticed an interesting Google Now card that kept coming up after a day or two after having been there. The card kept popping up with “Time to Dad’s,” as a reminder of how long it would take me to get back to his house. It was like the “Time to Home” card that you see if you have your home location added to your Now location settings. The card shows up if you leave home, so that you always know how long it will take to get back there no matter where you are.

I thought this card was interesting because my dad’s address wasn’t on my calendar, it isn’t in my location settings, and not once did I perform navigation on how to get to his house while I was there, because it’s in my home town of Whitefish and I know exactly how to get there. But over the last couple of days on the trip, each time I left his house, it kept telling me how to get back there, just like that “Time to Home” card. It was as if Google knew I was in Whitefish, MT, and that I was staying with my dad because his address is included in his contact card and I kept hanging out there for hours on end. It also could have been that it was simply looking through contacts to find nearby friends or family and was giving me the time it would take to get to their houses. 

At the time of seeing this card, it struck me as awesome and a bit creepy, but hey, I’ve bought into Google knowing all there is to know about me. I had forgotten about it, though, until a reader of ours pinged us over the weekend with a similar situation.

In the card above, our friend was greeted with directions to a friend’s house upon arriving in San Francisco. He explained it as a friend he would stop to see each time he made his way through SF to catch a Giants game or just say “Hi.” But on this particular trip, he had no plans to see his friend, yet Google was still showing him a card, just in case he wanted to head that way, likely because it knew he often made the trip to his friend’s house when in San Francisco.

I can’t find specific card info on Google’s Now support pages for this type of situation, so I just thought I would share. Again, it comes off a bit creepy that Google does always know where you are and locations of friends or family that you may want to visit when in the area, but I can also see how handy this would be.

Update:  Others in the comments are noticing similar cards. Some for a few months, others just now seeing it for the first time.

Has anyone else experienced a similar card?

Cheers Ben!
  • jcorf

    Yep. I’ve had this for months now. Pretty rad, even though the only contact that it has done it for lives 2 blocks down the street from me.

  • Santos Chavez

    That is crazy cool! I haven’t seen this yet, but I have seen it tell me how long it takes me to get to college even if I never told it where it was; it simply noticed I spend a lot of time at that place for hours on end. I don’t go on Fridays so it doesn’t even bring up that card on that day :)

  • nosedive94

    Skynet is coming online…

  • Dan

    What I am waiting for is how long it takes to figure out I’m on summer vacation (work at an elementary school). Been out over a month and it’s still telling me the time to work every weekday.

  • Dan

    Mine has been doing this for quite some time, I would say almost a year even. It’s kinda cool, but also somewhat annoying as like you almost all it tells me I know how to get there already.

  • TC Infantino

    This is actually the NSA accessing your contacts through remote control. Then Google thinks that you did the search yourself and continues to show you the info card. ;)
    The NSA- Always willing to lend a hand.

  • jarofclay77

    Shout-out from Whitefish. The smoke has cleared up here!

  • Mickey A Valentine

    I’ve gotten this card when going to work and when I had been going to school. Never mapped it, never called them. Nothing. Just started showing up for those two locations since I went to them so often. The weirdest one was a year or so ago when I was messaging my girlfriend on hangouts, talking about going to the swapmeet. Just that one mention of “swapmeet” brought up a card for directions to the nearest one. Creeped me out.

  • Phuq Obama

    Google is providing information on your travels to the White House. They are popping up cards to make you think they are being helpful but really it’s a clandestine method of gathering information on traveling Google users that the White House can catalog should they feel the need to find out where you are in case there is say a national curfew or martial law. They don’t want you sneaking off to those secret hideaways and pushing out propaganda that might be counter to their plans.