Google Latitude keeps tabs on friends' locations

Don't worry, its just a tool to get you used to being tracked. And I am sure a hacker or the FBI won't use the service for unintended reasons. The slow incremental push for the surveillance society continues.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/04/google.latitude/index.html
By Stephen Shankland

(CNET) -- Just because the Internet has broken down geographic barriers, don't assume that Google doesn't care about geography.
With Google's new Latitude software, cell phone users can share their locations with others.

The company plans to launch software called Latitude on Wednesday that lets mobile phone users share their location with close contacts. Google hopes it will help people find each other while out and about and to keep track of loved ones.

"What Google Latitude does is allow you to share that location with friends and family members, and likewise be able to see friends and family members' locations," said Steve Lee, product manager for Google Latitude. For example, a girlfriend could use it to see if her boyfriend has arrived at a restaurant and, if not, how far away he is.

To protect privacy, Google specifically requires people to sign up for the service. People can share their precise location, the city they're in, or nothing at all.

"What we found in testing is that the most common scenario is a symmetrical arrangement, where both people are sharing with each other," Lee said.

The software spotlights Google's fixation with mapping and location technology. Location is an important part of navigating the real world, and Google clearly sees its geographic services as a way to establish a more personal connection with customers who today use Google chiefly for the virtual realm of the Internet.

And of course money is involved, too: Google hopes its mapping technology will lead to location-based advertising revenue.

Google's power is firmly lodged in search and search advertising, but the company is trying to expand to broader online services, too. That includes online documents and various aspects of social networking, which are much more personal services and ones that put Google into more direct competition with rivals such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo. Like using Google profiles to contact information with select contacts, using Google Latitude tells Google who's who in your social graph.

How it works

Latitude is part of Google Maps for Mobile, the company's mapping software for mobile phones, but also can be used through a gadget loaded onto its iGoogle customized home page. It'll work in 27 countries at launch, Google said.

Initially, it will work on most color-screen BlackBerry phones, most phones with Windows Mobile 5.0 or later, and most Symbian-based devices such as Nokia smartphones. An update to the Google Android operating system now being distributed to the T-Mobile G1 phone also enables it, and iPhone and iPod Touch users will get the option "very soon," Lee said.

Latitude uses Google's technology to judge a user's location not just by GPS satellite, but also by proximity to mobile phone towers and wireless networks.

That's a much more automated approach than the manual "check-in" process used by Dodgeball, a service that Google decided in January to shut down.

Other competitors exist, though. BrightKite and Loopt offer mechanisms for people to find each other by mobile phone, for example. Then there's MobiFriends, Tripit, and Dopplr.

And Google's clearest competitor, Yahoo, offers some competition with Fire Eagle. That service doesn't provide location information, but it does provide a mechanism to centralize people's geographic privacy choices, in effect taking care of some of the social graph management when it comes to location information.

To use the service, you need a Google account to record who has permission to see your location. For choosing who gets to see your location, you can use contacts stored with Gmail or Picasa, Google said.

The white lie

With the service, you can hide from specific people or disappear altogether. And you can manually set a specific location if, for example, your phone can't show it with sufficient precision or if you wish to tell someone a white lie about whether you really aren't going to go to the candy store.

Google envisions two broad classes of people with whom you might want to share location information. First is a small, close-knit circle of friends and family with whom you're willing to share your exact spot. Second is a larger group with whom you're happy to share city-level detail, convenient for finding out when somebody's in town but not much more.

When somebody is close, the software lets you contact the person various ways--by calling or sending an e-mail or text message, for example. It also lets you hide from that specific person.

Privacy is of course a significant concern when it comes to sharing this sort of information. If you want to use Latitude, you must specifically enable the service.

Meeting your pals at a bar is an obvious example of the software's possibilities, but there are softer cases I see as useful, too.

Lee pointed to a case where a friend's girlfriend, though far away in Seattle, will "virtually place herself next to him." That sounds a little sappy for my tastes, but I can still relate. My wife is on the other side of the country right now, and it would be heart-warming to see just where. iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Google Latitude

There are a lot of occasions where technology is better for maintaining relationships than it is for establishing them, and this looks like one to me.

Views: 52

Comment

You need to be a member of 12160 Social Network to add comments!

Join 12160 Social Network

Comment by Shazie on February 7, 2009 at 11:31pm
lovely.
Comment by Jeff on February 5, 2009 at 1:34pm
Just what we all need.

NOT.

"Destroying the New World Order"

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE SITE!

mobile page

12160.info/m

12160 Administrators

 

TOP CONTENT THIS WEEK

Latest Activity

cheeki kea replied to MAC's discussion ARMED CIVILIANS FIGHTING BACK as Leftists Call to DEFUND POLICE!!!
"24 hours after beating old white man to the ground.pushed down and left to bleed on the pavement by…"
1 hour ago
cheeki kea replied to MAC's discussion ARMED CIVILIANS FIGHTING BACK as Leftists Call to DEFUND POLICE!!!
"Your right Doc V. Not only do Americans need to protect themselves from looters but also from the…"
1 hour ago
Doc Vega commented on Chris of the family Masters's blog post The Germ Theory: A Deadly Fallacy
"The medical establishment favors vaccines with questionable components that qualify as poisonous to…"
2 hours ago
Doc Vega favorited Chris of the family Masters's blog post The Germ Theory: A Deadly Fallacy
2 hours ago
Doc Vega favorited Chris of the family Masters's blog post The Germ Theory: A Deadly Fallacy
2 hours ago
MAC posted discussions
4 hours ago
Boris posted a status
"site issues reported, be patient"
5 hours ago
Boris commented on DTOM's photo
Thumbnail

fedds_dees

"RIP David Dees, 62, of Ashland, Oregon, passed away"
5 hours ago
MAC commented on Mr. Sizzle's photo
Thumbnail

Celebs donate to Antifa fund.

"I don't recognize any of those assholes lol"
5 hours ago
MAC favorited Central Scrutinizer's photo
5 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters commented on Chris of the family Masters's blog post The Germ Theory: A Deadly Fallacy
"One cannot reconcile existence of microbiome and germ theory. It's either one or the other.…"
7 hours ago
Burbia posted a video

LRADs and Sound Cannons Are NOT Safe. Here's How To Minimize Their Effects.

Spoiler: As luck would have it, paper or thin poster boards (the glossier the better), protect better than a wide range of acoustic shields that I've tested....
7 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters posted a status
"site doesn't load properly."
8 hours ago
James Roberts posted a status
"A - Wifi not working at my brother's place, and can't send private messages here, sorry."
10 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters posted a video

The TRUTH about FEAR

Interview with Dr. Aajonus Vonderplanitz https://youtu.be/mVP9HqV8yoY We live in a world of lies pushed on us by the upper levels of the world controllers. I...
10 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters favorited Doc Vega's blog post At This Time in History
14 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters posted discussions
14 hours ago
Mr. Sizzle commented on Boris's page 12160 Administrators
"I’m not able to log out or post anything. Any advice?"
14 hours ago
Guardian of Scotland replied to MAC's discussion GEORGE FLOYD
"Not all black people support George…"
16 hours ago
Doc Vega posted blog posts
18 hours ago

© 2020   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2019 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted