Google Latitude: Tell Your Friends Where You Are

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 4, 2009

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Ever wonder where your friends or your spouse or your child is? That’s the question Google hopes to answer for you with a new service launching Wednesday called Google Latitude.

Using a combination of Global Positioning System, WiFi, and cell tower location data, the service, an extension of Google Maps, Latitude can determine where you are in the world via your mobile device depending on which of those technologies the device can use. It will work on most color Blackberries, most Windows Mobile 5.0 devices, most Symbian S60 devices, and phones powered by Google’s Android mobile software, such as the T-Mobile G1. No iPhone or iPod Touch yet, but Google says that’s coming very soon.

The service wasn’t yet functional when I was briefed by Google, so I can’t yet vouch for it, but here’s how it works: You download a new version of Google Maps onto your mobile device, then invite friends via an email to join. Once they accept, and if they have a Google account with a profile picture, you’ll see that on a map. Then you can send them an email or text message or call them, and of course get directions to their location. You can also view locations of your friends from your desktop through iGoogle, the company’s personalized home page.

The service sounds a little like Dodgeball, the location service that Google bought a few years ago, only to announce recently that it will shut it down. But Latitude was developed by the Google Maps team with different technology, and it’s an extension of Maps rather than an entirely separate service. It also goes further than My Location, a Maps feature introduced in late 2007, which let you see your own location on a map. But Latitude also follows similar services such as Loopt.

In some ways, it might seem like yet another way for 20somethings with a lot of time on their hands to party spontaneously with their friends. But in three months of testing inside Google and with “trusted testers” outside the company (including the Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg Solution columnist Katherine Boehret), broader use cases emerged. If you’re home and wondering when to start making dinner, you can tell when your spouse left work to time it right, even if he or she doesn’t remember to check in. Parents of adult children can feel more connected to their offspring knowing where they’re traveling.

Of course, the obvious question is: Isn’t this just a fine stalker tool? Not surprisingly, Google thought about this a lot, and offers a wide variety of ways to make sure you can’t be tracked if you don’t want to (and a readymade quote from Cindy Southworth, firector of the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, saying she worked with Google on the privacy aspects). The service is opt-in, and you can control precisely who among your friends and relatives can see your location. You can hide your location from everyone or particular people, opt to share only the city you’re in generally, or just turn the service off.

I can imagine this kind of information would help Google advertisers target local pitches to you eventually, but Google says it has no specific plans for this yet.

Reader Comments

Freddy

February 5, 2009 12:36 AM

why on earth are humans so lonely? The last thing I want is people knowing where I am every second of the day. I don't do Facebook, I don't get Twitter, I just don't understand the direction the human race is heading. Is it just me??? Will I be the last man on Earth.

Becky

February 5, 2009 12:57 AM

I'm with you.

Moto-Espresso.com

February 5, 2009 1:12 AM

Now I can use this system for my customer's to track me as I sell coffee and espresso's around the Monterey Peninsula! Where is Moto-Espresso Coffee Cart? Look, there he is!

Arthur

February 5, 2009 1:12 AM

Ha ha ha, gotta love the irony of "Freddy", posting a lonely comment on an article at 12:36 AM... I dunno Freddy, why are YOU lonely?

This function sounds amazing, I can see excellent usages of it beyond the social. For many work environments this could become a huge communication tool, and in some professions even a life safer. Well done Google! Now fix the damn economy!

Brenda

February 5, 2009 1:15 AM

I think this could be a great tool and the technology could be used in a very positive way. Keeping an eye on kids, teenagers, criminals, people on the run for some reason etc.
Stalkers could be the watched not the watchers, I realise the potential for people to use this kind of technology in a bad way but it could be regulated in some way,ie. consent required.
And quite simply if you have nothing to hide why worry?? But I guess the bottom line as it stands is no phone no tracker so presently its easy to avoid if you want, just don't take your phone, or have two or three phones.

Pierre AUCLAIR

February 5, 2009 1:16 AM

If you have an iPhone and you want to share your location with your friends but only temporarily for a special event or just for joining them on a party, there is already an application on App Store called Bubbl'in. This is way less intrusive in the sens that this sharing is mutual (your friends have to share their location as well as you) and you can burst your temporary sharing zone in just a click.

The Internet

February 5, 2009 1:17 AM

Do people not read Orwell anymore?

Jason

February 5, 2009 1:23 AM

I agree with you on this. Now, I myself do use facebook, but do we really need to let everyone know where we always are? Take the married people for instance. If the husband (or wife for that matter) always has Latitude running, but decides to turn it off for whatever reason, the other person in the marriage might get suspicious as to what the other is doing and a fight will occur. Or what about the stalking issue? Hackers could start sending around a virus that forces people to download the program without the ability to turn it off and thus the hacker will know where all those people are. This has some potential for some very serious problems

Jake

February 5, 2009 1:25 AM

No. I'm with you on that Freddy. The article says it best..."20somethings with a lot of time on their hands..."

There's no darn way I'd take the time to set this thing up and train others how to use it at this stage in life. Maybe when the kids are older, driving, and need to be tracked.

But right now, at 40, with three grade school children and a wife that works from home. No need.

Cascadian Rebel

February 5, 2009 1:26 AM

A good tin can makes for a pretty good faraday cage that you can put your cell phone into to stop it telling big brother where you are every 5 seconds. Sounds like a great idea, for cattle and other animals you might herd. Sounds like more of a service for the powers of control rather than a service to individuals. 'services' like this will eventually turn our society into a world where everyone watches someone and the few at the top have access to every detail of every person. Every purchase, every phone call, every relationship, everything to empower the opulent.

dna

February 5, 2009 1:29 AM

Ditto...what r these people thinking ?? Have they nothing constructive to do, waste, such a waste, all comes down to sales, money greed

Jeff

February 5, 2009 1:29 AM

We aren't lonely. This is new technology and everyone its whacked out and scared and wondering whats coming next.

What do you think when they invented the TV, or the computer, or video games, or anything electronic for that matter!

What about cars?! im sure that was persecuted quite a bit!

D. Grant Haynes

February 5, 2009 1:30 AM

Freddy wrote, "...I just don't understand the direction the human race is heading. Is it just me?..."

No, it's not just you, Freddie.

I value my privacy so much that I refuse to own a cellular phone. And I leave the ringer off on my land line telephone quite often.

Human beings are pathetically addicted to cyber technology--so much so that many younger ones no longer draw a distinction between their vicarious cyber experiences and real ones.

Each marvelous new bit of communications technology like Google Latitude--crutches that today's pampered joy-stick-wielding young people accept without reservation--carries with it surrender of another layer of the self reliance that will be prerequisite for survival in the post technological age that must surely come after the present madness passes.

The human race is headed places I don't wish to go. It is a good time to be mature and in anticipation of others venues.

D. Grant Haynes

Juan

February 5, 2009 1:33 AM

I think this app will become a huge thing. Imagine the benefits, Keeping track of your kids, especially the teenagers, it could become a tracking system for your car etc. The benefit will always be that you could turn it off, just remember to do so before visiting your secret lover

Rich

February 5, 2009 1:37 AM

Privacy to live our lives how we choose and do what we want doesn't exist anymore. I don't want to live on this planet if we're going to be controlled, watched, and questioned 24/7. "F" all the Big Brother technology. Give me back a rotary phone and regular tv and leave me alone. I'll go and do as I please. That's freedom...something long gone.

Shari

February 5, 2009 1:39 AM

Well my husband just pointed out that it would be really useful if you became separated from your group at a large event like, say, Symphony of Fire in Vancouver BC, and you could use your Blackberries to understand where you were in relation to your friends.

I also think it will be great to call him if I'm lost and have him help me figure out where I need to turn to get back on track for my destination.

It could be a seriously killer app.

BTW I use Facebook to connect with family in other provinces and Twitter has its own plethora of uses beyond the "I'm brushing my teeth right now" level.

You might not be the last man on the earth, but you might be the last one to know! ;-)

Matt Montag

February 5, 2009 1:44 AM

Awesome

Doug

February 5, 2009 1:44 AM

I think this is a fabulous idea...for those who want to opt in. You have to consider what you want from life, and as technology becomes available decide for yourself if it's something you want. It's never the technology that's the problem, it's what humans do with it.

Private Benjamin

February 5, 2009 1:47 AM

I'm with you Freddy. I don't do Facebook or Twitter. I don't get why adult friends insist it's a necessary part of my life. What scares me most about this Google feature is the ability for Uncle Sam to track us via our cell phones. With each technological advance, more of our privacy and freedom erodes. I say, let freedom ring without my cell phone.

Kirk

February 5, 2009 1:49 AM

Just another way for "big brother" to keep tabs on people. Except instead of forcing it on us they slowly introduce phones with gps tracking that only turns on when "911 is activated", and cars with Ontrack, fastrak, and satellite radio systems.

So sure...why not? I now want to broadcast my where-abouts for everyone to scrutinize and I can't wait to let big brother analyze my every movement.

no

February 5, 2009 1:53 AM

I think this is the most rediculas idea that has ever been created.
I am a 17 year old girl, who likes to have my own privacy from time to time, and with this it means i'll only feel safe and alone if i do not take my mobile with me.

Any weirdo can track your number down, and before you know it there at your door.

It's just simply unfair and immoral

John Q. Luddite

February 5, 2009 1:53 AM

Yes.

Doug

February 5, 2009 1:54 AM

I think this is a fabulous idea...for those who want to opt in. You have to consider what you want from life, and as technology becomes available decide for yourself if it's something you want. It's never the technology that's the problem, it's what humans do with it.

ec

February 5, 2009 1:55 AM

Can Google get any creepier. Eric Schmidt must have been a stalker before becoming CEO. He really knows how to market to that demographic. First we have satellite photos of your home, then we get street view photos of your home, now all of your creepy ex boyfriends and psychotic possessive girlfriends will be able to track your every move. Sure you can turn off the tracking device in the beginning. But eventually, your phone upgrades will not have that shut-off feature. And then, the government will begin to see the benefits of the tracking device. Great job for a company whose motto is "Don't do Evil."

shoddy

February 5, 2009 2:01 AM

oh joy, just what we need. will there be an sensor linked to the lavatory paper holder in my bathroom so everybody knows when ive used the bathroom? why cant people just mind their own business?

HornBird

February 5, 2009 2:03 AM

Privacy is history.

ty

February 5, 2009 2:06 AM

well freddy it will be the two of us just shows us how close we really are to that day

ergün tosun

February 5, 2009 2:19 AM

please help me. ı was cheated by a very close friend of mine . my parents do not know this none knows. ı need some helps .
you don't know turkey. night was the day ı am not able to sleep. please help me . ergun130@hotmail.

JLM`

February 5, 2009 2:19 AM

What are people getting bent out of shape for.... You have no privacy anymore anyway. Might as well share with your friends what your enemies already know.

Tony

February 5, 2009 2:26 AM

Good one D.Grant Haynes,
What an excellent statement may I have your permission to print it and pass it on to some of my friends?
Each marvelous new bit of communications technology like Google Latitude--crutches that today's pampered joy-stick-wielding young people accept without reservation--carries with it surrender of another layer of the self reliance that will be prerequisite for survival in the post technological age that must surely come after the present madness passes

Joe

February 5, 2009 2:31 AM

People on both sides of the privacy debate: remember, like all technology this is just a tool, neither good nor evil. Technology doesn't steal away your privacy, people do... and only with your consent in most cases. Granted it's hard to live a "normal" life today without having given up lots of privacy already, but in most cases it is "opt-in".

Jim

February 5, 2009 2:43 AM

Another bit of technology that I don't want or need.

dick

February 5, 2009 2:49 AM

The implants didmt work so now they are tracking me...

Sasha

February 5, 2009 2:52 AM

Can you say "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU?" Sure you can!

Dingding

February 5, 2009 2:55 AM

It's not the freedom to opt-in that matters. The terrible part is that the manipulating spouses, friends, family members, parents, clients and many others who see the opportunity to control and force others to reveal their locations. Another Hitler-style technology human kind does not need. Thumbs Down!

Jon

February 5, 2009 2:59 AM

This crap scares the hell out of me, I don't want to be tracked. I hate even using a credit card so they can see what I bought. This direction is brining us closer and closer to the day all humans are tracked by law. I can't stop it, but be warned once it is, there's no turning backward.

Rebecca

February 5, 2009 3:05 AM

Big Bro is here!
Finger prints @ amusements parks
Grocery store cards that track every purchase you make.
And now thank you, those same people will know every move I make!!
NO THEY WON'T!

silk

February 5, 2009 3:07 AM

betcha lot of men wont like this cuz their wives or gfs will know if they cheating or not lol

Mark

February 5, 2009 3:17 AM

Human beings do not need this : they use it to track what you do, what you consume just like a shepherd do for his cattles and sheeps.

Allan

February 5, 2009 3:19 AM

Welcome to Generation G.

Murphy

February 5, 2009 3:25 AM

Great tool for someone with a cheating spouse! Require the other to opt-in or they will leave them! Divorce Cort will love this too - lots of legal fees!

When the aliens land - they will shake their green little heads at how we "evolved" to this. Next step - The Borg!

JB

February 5, 2009 3:25 AM

This is super dangerous ..I can see all the misuse that will happen already !!

tarikur

February 5, 2009 3:30 AM

I agree with some of people that says this is a bad thing.

Imagine, a abusive controling person who has access to this technology, that person will use this technology to control wife, husband, kids, worker and etc. The controling person will always question the victim about why did they go the place they went. As we know from psychology that victims usually don't leave the abusive person and take the abuse and have a victim's mentality.

kelly

February 5, 2009 3:31 AM

I used to manage a group of 13 mobile employees, this would have been a fantastic app to help me know where they are so I could better set up work days, get to them when they need help and service customers.

There is great positive potential for an app of this design.

HereAndNow

February 5, 2009 3:41 AM

I think this would be a great tool to use on weekends, when you are trying to organize friends for dinner or going bar hopping. Instead of everyone having to call to say they are running late ,etc., they can just turn on Latitude and others can see when they are.

Road trips with multiple cars could be another use, so you can see where the other cars are, if you lose sight of them.

I don’t see why people are concerned. If you don’t want people to know where you are, turn it off.

Min-woo Kim

February 5, 2009 3:50 AM

[Title: Google Ocean + Google Latitude = Real-time Fishing LBS Contents]
Have you heard about Real-time Fishing LBS Contents? Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is Location Based Service for IPTV, WiMAX, Mobile. This Service Model was created in 2002 by I&IWorld. I&IWorld's located in South Korea. As you know, there're many people enjoy fishing in the world(about 5 hundred million). I&IWorld's Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is like these.

[Main Functions]
1.the underwater topography and 3D views with fishing spots
2.Real-time fishing points tracing by GPS and angling direction guide
3.Service the real-time fishing condition about fishing place(weather, water temp, depth etc)
4.Angler Social network(such as Second Life)

Visit http://www.koreacontent.org/co/i/iiworld/index.html. If you need more information, please send your email address.

Matt

February 5, 2009 4:06 AM

This sounds like a great idea for parents an carer's, an all type's of business folk's who need to keep tap's on thing's an people.
All so if your "married" well don't put you or your partner in limbo buy turning it of once you both agree to use this handy idea!! is it worth it?
And from the start if your worried about people knowing where you are you have option to turn it off or select who can know where you are!! KEEP IT SIMPLE IF YOU LIKE IT USE IT, IF NOT FORGET ABOUT IT:)

Big Brother

February 5, 2009 5:49 AM

I am watching you already and now you are going to willfully hand me the tools to do it even easier.
What will I eventually charge you fools for this 'service'?

Can you not see the path we are going down?
People have to wake up and see the Orwellian coffee.

WalkerTheStalker

February 5, 2009 5:49 AM

as a professional celebrity stalker, it gets annoying when Jennifer Anniston or Britney Spears tries to give me the slip and have a little private time to themselves. I need to know their whereabouts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that I can walk up and greet them unexpectedly at any moment. They pretend to register shock and horror and revulsion, but I know that inwardly they are just as excited and turned on as I am. Thanks, Google, for making a device that will add even more thrills to all our lives!

NYMARTY

February 5, 2009 5:55 AM

Everyone on parole should be wearing a device so that their parole officer can track them. Children should be wired for location just in case. Jealous husbands and wives will just love this.

ron

February 5, 2009 5:56 AM

Another tool for the control freak.

Ramesh TR

February 5, 2009 5:59 AM

Absolutely agree with Freddy's comment.
Maybe somepeople might have need for this but peer pressure would slowly get into others. Its really getting "out of hand" now

Yinka

February 5, 2009 6:00 AM

I really don't want ANYone keeping track of me and for now anyway, I c no reason why i'd like to keep track of anyone. I must be able to lie when i want to about my location or be able to surprise anyone showing up when i'm not expected.

Also, ppl who cheat on their partners will be able to tell when their partner is close, that just kills the fun for other ppl hoping cheaters get caught!

Thayyib Ahmed

February 5, 2009 6:14 AM

As Muslims we read the sayings of of Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) that every human beings been recorded their deeds by 2 angels sitting in right and left shoulders. The right one for good deeds and the left one for bad deeds.

Now Muslims could understand how easy it could be for the angels to record with the most advanced technologies with digital video clarity for millions of years of human race.

Damian Webber

February 5, 2009 6:16 AM

This will be a field day for companies whose staff are "working from home today" and are tracked as they spend four hours shopping, and two hours in the pub !!

Teresa

February 5, 2009 6:22 AM

Everyone that viewed this article, even Freddy, disclosed their location. Have you ever had your computer with you when you have traveled? Did you notice that the advertisements were in the language used by people in that country? Even when you try to go to some websites, the website will be in that language. I find this a bit creepy, but not enough, obviously, to get me to turn off the internet connection.
This Google app has some excellent uses.
Certainly finding someone who is lost and keeping track of teenages are top of the list. You can turn it off and still have the phone on, and you can choose who you share information with; so it is not actually as much of an invasion of your privacy as using the internet is.

Susan

February 5, 2009 6:42 AM

What's the deal? If you don't like it, don't use it! When eye glasses were first used the user faced ridicule, accusations, etc. They were evil, but the benefit far outweighed the ridicule and where would we be without them today?! Take off the blinders and accept this for what it is: a tool that can be used for good, or fun, and we will always have the crazies that try to use if for bad. Sift it out and move on.

Tom Mariner

February 5, 2009 6:54 AM

Don't throw out the benefits baby with the privacy bathwater.

Part of the value that Google brings to us all is the innovative, energetic manner of doing what is possible. Yes, there are rough edges, but compare what you get from many cellular providers who purposely block use of the GPS that the phone manufacturers build in. My provider wanted $40 per month to tell me when our just teenager left or arrived at a location. But then these are the same folks who charge 20 cents for every 160 character text message.

The point of the Google announcment, aside from its utility, is that it will provide competition for the greedy cellular providers and force the "I'm a monopoly, pay me" folks out to be replaced by the "We can do even better than Google" managers.

And think what can happen if the telco's finally grow up get out of the 1930's government-protected mindset. That would mean that they would have to take the millions they spend on lobbyists and pay techies. But if they don't, your new phone company will be ... Google.

If we let the marketplace decide.

Just me

February 5, 2009 7:11 AM

"Do you people not read Orwell?"

Do you people not read the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible? All-knowing government surveillance by an evil "Big Brother." The inability to buy or sell anything without the "mark of the Beast."

This technology sounds good and CAN be used for good, but it can also very easily be used for evil... in the wrong hands.

Paul P Giles

February 5, 2009 7:17 AM

I started developing this concept for the Asian market (where mobile phones are ubiquitous) around the same time another company in finland was doing it, this other company was called Jaiku. About nine months into the project Google bought Jaiku for an undisclosed amount of money. With Google entering the market I decided to terminate the project, it was disappointing but I was also happy Google picked it up as there are many great uses for this technology and Google is likely the best company to do it. Also, some people I know who mocked the idea were silenced when I sent them the news article on Google's purchase of Jaiku. In the end though, I am very thankful that Google put me out of this business because I started another company that has become highly successful. Thank you Google!

Stephen A. Surmick

February 5, 2009 7:21 AM

It sure would'nt take much for this thing to be abused.An extra cell phone hidden in the spare tire compartment should do it.

Wake Up Idiots

February 5, 2009 7:31 AM

Ever heard the one about how to catch wild pigs? You keep building one wall at a time as the pigs get used to just the single wall, until you have three and when the pigs are happy in their safe feeling place you slap the fourth wall up and then they are trapped.

What makes me the most sick about this type of crap is that the idiotic sheep public asks for this type of control, thinking it will be a good thing that no one would ever use with bad intentions.

If you want to keep track of your stupid kids, call them on their cellphone and if they lie about their whereabouts - punish them. Be a parent. If you want to keep track of your vehicle, buy one with on-star.

When people invented the TV, computer, and anything else electronic it wasn't with the intention to keep an eye on every movement people make. That is called CONTROL, and it's ultimate use will not be there simply to keep track of your kids or friends.

And for the twenty somethings and younger who know nothing but Face Book, My Space, and IM - don't whine when the black SUV's show up and haul your stupid butts to a detention center for something they deem necessary. But of course if you simply turn off your cellphone that will disable the tracking chip in it, right? Have a good time wild pigs. Technology can be your friend, at least until it is used against you.

Philip

February 5, 2009 7:35 AM

I wish I could have had this service for my oldest daughter the night she was drugged with rohypnol and gang raped at a party in South San Antonio. I looked desperately for her that night....Years later she still suffers from images in her subconcious.

Bat G

February 5, 2009 7:40 AM

Paranoia runs deep.

George Haney

February 5, 2009 7:42 AM

I think my main concern is standard but too true. The human race is basically a great community of people.

Unfortunatly, there are a small percentage (I know of 6 Billion) who are scum of the earth.

Those scum will find, as they always do, ways to exploit this technology. Some will use it to kill. (Reference Craigslit)

My hope is that those who use this sevice, and I will once tested THOUROGHLY, brace themselves and prepare for the inevitable.

Only through vigilance is scum left to where they belong: The gutter

Unfortunatly, we have not proven to be a vigilant society... we react instead of prepare.

Good luck to all.

Goerge

johnn schultz prc az

February 5, 2009 8:04 AM

on scout sunday i will be in the am @ Black Rock Christian and PM Foothills Christian church in which both are in the greater PHx area. HIS jcs

Amit

February 5, 2009 8:07 AM

Have an eye over ur spouse.... but alas it cannot tell with whom s/he is... Neways it satisfies many voyeuristic outlook.. Definitely its taking technology to a new dimension.. Definitely its gonna b very useful for different purposes in life.

Vera McHale

February 5, 2009 8:08 AM

I just woke up from a dream where I thought my family was walking behind me. I was lost in a forest and this is the first thing I saw on my PC when I woke up trying to forget the nightmare. Oh how sweet to know all I need to answer my my prayer you have made available. I'm on it today! I need your star close, like in my pocket. I hope it is affordable.

Jerry442

February 5, 2009 8:09 AM

what a bunch of needy people,who have no idea how far this technology can go and the dangers that could follow. But hey who cares we have the newest,greatest thing out there and thats all that matters. People should know my every move everyday because I'm so special

Henry

February 5, 2009 8:11 AM

You just happen to be in the same block where the crime was committed. Get out of that one.

buddy

February 5, 2009 8:12 AM

Isaac Asimov once said that advancement of civilization is nothing more than making more boundaries to human privacy.

With google we advance....

Augie

February 5, 2009 8:18 AM

Count me out. Even the situations where it might be marginally useful, like tracking your teenage kids, not so much. They could just turn it off. Besides, it can only tell you where they are, not what they're doing! For people who get lost easily, get GPS. I don't need anyone to know where I am constantly, nor do I care to keep that close track or anyone else. And as someone else pointed out, if you usually have it on and you turn it off, all kinds of questions/arguments could ensue.

This is like something out of nightmarish science fiction. At best, it's mildly annoying, at worst, it's frighteningly intrusive. Seriously, doesn't anyone care about privacy anymore?

prefix

February 5, 2009 8:21 AM

Yeah this seems cool, why not?
Its not like phones havent been embedded with GPS for years anyway.
Government agencies have been able to use these things to track you already, so we may as well have fun with these tools too.Besides arent we all just waiting for the sh**house to go up in flames anyway?!

Cedric.

February 5, 2009 8:26 AM

Well, if you have any REAL reason to hide your location without making someone suspiscious by turning your phone (or the app) off, then you could simply have a spare phone and a spare sim. When you want to go "cheating", simply swap sims, then take the phone with the app to a safe location and leave phone and app on. Then take the spare phone with your regular sim to wherever. But if your other phone gets tracked and it is discovered that you just took it somewhere and left it there to mislead... don't say I suggested it.

Taimur Ali Khan

February 5, 2009 8:31 AM

a great development,if we use it in a positive and constructive way.

BuzzDog

February 5, 2009 8:33 AM

Like many of you, when I first saw Loopt (a similar app) I questioned the benefits of this technology at first, and then found a way to use it that I find helpful and non-intrusive.

I regularly travel a four-hour stretch of twisty, two-lane mountainous road. It's difficult - if not dangerous - for me to talk on the phone while driving this route, and Loopt gives my significant other a way to make sure I'm okay without calling me every half-hour or so. As was previously stated, it also gives an idea of my arrival time. Far from feeling "checked on" or like people want to cover their tracks before I come home, I'm flattered that my family looks forward to my arrival.

It all depends on your needs, and how you use the technology. Loopt is turned off most of the time on my iPhone, but it's there when I want it. Personally, I'd be more concerned about OnStar and other types of features built into many newer cars on the road today.

But just because something doesn't fit your needs doesn't mean it doesn't have a need to exist. That would be like me dismissing the need for feminine hygiene products to be sold...after all, I don't need them (I'm male), so why should they be sold?

Pat

February 5, 2009 8:38 AM

It could have some positive uses, especially for the "gotta be connected" crowd, but it just pushes the Orwellian factor too much for me. Even if you can opt out, I can see too many potential problems.

"I checked for you around lunchtime, but couldn't find you. Where were you that you didn't want me to know?"

"I saw that you went to [someplace] today. What were you doing there?"

Tom

February 5, 2009 8:41 AM

I was a little spooked when I went onto the new google earth and was able to view an outside 3d look of my birth home.

It gives you a clear viewpoint that if this is available to the public, what is available on the government side that we are unaware of.

Wait for the hack or spoof, where they will be able to scope your house to rob it and tell exactly when you leave and if your returning.

Privacy is dead.

Bryan

February 5, 2009 9:05 AM

I agree with Freddie 100%. Yes I am with the times and technology but I also like my privacy. I keep in contact with the ones who I care about but besides that, why would anyone need to know about me or my whereabouts. I just don't care to Facebook or Twitter or share my location. It's nice being free, you should try it.

Anti-Big Brother

February 5, 2009 9:22 AM

Can you say Big Brother ? It sounds to me that Google is working for the government. Femma camps are next guys !!! They've already said these photo radar are recording you 24-7. Everywhere you go your being watched, and now your being tracked. But you know what, it's all good. Because we want our kids to be safe....ya right you keep thinking that!!!!

jack

February 5, 2009 9:38 AM

a killer app? yes? but one fraught with peril. what about the coercive potential of a tool like this? how will a spouse or child tell their parents or significant other that they want to "opt out"? how do you tell ppl close to you that you dont necessarily want them to be able to track your every move every moment of the night and day?

Andy

February 5, 2009 11:23 AM

Add me to the list of folks who are concerned about the potential abuse of Google's latest project launch. Although I have faith in GOOG and believe that they're operating with the best of intentions, with all of the information that we're dishing out to their services (on a silver platter no less), we've pretty much plopped every minor detail of our lives into one big database.

In Google we trust.

AsK

February 5, 2009 3:13 PM

Nice app...as long as it doesn't tell one of my girl friend that I might be next to another girl friend. I'll give it a try.

Khadri

February 17, 2009 9:13 AM

Nice to try

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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