Google Timeline, launched in 2015, is a feature that contains location history and can establish that a user was located at a particular place and time.
Google Timeline is a potential source of exculpatory evidence for criminal defense cases and wrongful conviction cases. Google collects location data from a user’s mobile device if they have a Google account and location services are enabled. This data is captured even while the device is idle. Android users are prompted to set up a Google account upon activation of their new mobile device and Apple iPhone users can also add a Gmail account to their device. This location data could exist since the creation of the account. Per Google, this information is derived from GPS data, cell site/cell tower information, and Wi-Fi access points. Google collects this data whenever one of their services is activated and/or whenever there is an event on the mobile device such as a phone call, text messages, internet access, or email access. Google information can also contain Gmail, photos and videos, search history, contacts, applications, other connected devices, Google Voice and Google Wallet.
Google’s Timeline feature allows criminal defense attorneys and investigators to obtain detailed information about where someone has been – down to the longitude and latitude – over the course of YEARS.
Additional information found here Digital Evidence Case Assessment Method White Paper and here IRIS LLC Digital Evidence Toolbox: Location Data