« I can see clearly now: the Clarifi macro lens for the iPhone | Main | Online socializing encourages depression in teenage girls, says Stony Brook »

02. 04. 2009

Upping the Creepiness Ante: Google to Release Latitude

Google_Latitude_map.jpg

(Credit: Google)

Google announced the release of a new application today, Latitude, which allows people to share their physical locations with chosen contacts. Friends who have chosen to share with you will appear as icons on a map viewable online or on mobile devices.

From CNN.com:

"'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."

One handy feature is that users can choose to share their exact location, what city they're in, or nothing at all. You know, different settings for different levels of nosiness and accountability.

How does it work? Google uses both GPS and cell tower triangulation (a phone's position relative to several cell towers) to pinpoint the users' locations. The technology is already in use on the iPhone when the Google Maps service is used.

I predict that parents will be the most pleased about Latitude, as it provides an easy way to track their children's movements (assuming the children have their phones with them, but who are we kidding?).

Google, who apparently hopes to cash in on location-specific advertising, will be releasing Latitude for Blackberry and Palm devices immediately, and promise to deliver it to the iPhone "very soon". The service is free to users with Google accounts, and works in 27 countries.

I foresee attempts to integrate Latitude with Facebook and Twitter in short order.

I'm sure there will be many privacy advocates who will condemn Latitude, especially if there's no indication by Google how it will use the information. But I prefer to think of the upside: the service will allow for real-life versions of the Scotland Yard board game. How much fun would that be?!

I'll be a guinea pig on this one, and for the sake of science will bully my friends and family into trying Latitude, too. A follow-up report will be filed next week.

Update from MSNBC.com:


"[Latitude] adds a social flavor to Google maps and makes it more fun," said Steve Lee, a Google product manager.

It could also raise privacy concerns, but Google is doing its best to avoid a backlash by requiring each user to manually turn on the tracking software and making it easy to turn off or limit access to the service.

Google also is promising not to retain any information about its users' movements. Only the last location picked up by the tracking service will be stored on Google's computers, Lee said.


Posted by Shelley    Category: on the web
Tags:
Email this | Comments (0)
Add to: Yahoo Add to: Google Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Technorati


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Back to Top

 





 
swf_ad2.gif


Best of Popgadget
10.21.2010

We're back!! And where we've been...

Hello! It's been a while, and I'm so happy to say, we are going to be back and better than ever. We will be changing just a little bit- bringing you more frequently updated content, in a somewhat abbreviated...
Read More
Popgadget Recent Comments
Popgadget Steals & Deals
Mom Wants Gadgets for Mother's Day
Trade-in Your Old Electronics
Popgadget Giveaway from American Express! My Life on Points
6-Foot HDMI cable at $3.19 includes shipping
Sony offers some exciting deals for Mother's Day
Unlocked iPhone! Only $599. Or $699.
Got four friends? Take a Peek at this great offer
Green Tech: Eco-fashions priced to move
31 ways to save money on technology from PCWorld
Popgadget Random Images

Where is this image from?
See more random images
On This Day
Take a little stroll down memory lane. See what Popgadget was writing about on this day in 2012 2009 2008 2007 2006 2004