Mobility

Are you ready to be tracked by Google Latitude?

On Wednesday, Google released Latitude--an application that let's you track someone's location using their mobile phone. Are you ready to let people track you? Watch this report and then take our quick poll.

On Wednesday, Google released Latitude--an application that let's you track someone's location using their mobile phone. Are you ready for friends, family, coworkers, or your boss to track you?

Geographic tracking via cell phone isn't a new practice. For years, 911 systems have able to locate mobile phones through cell tower triangulation. GPS-enabled smartphones make the task even easier. And, Google's not the first to provide the public with a tracking service. Several companies (TeleNav, Guarding Angel Technology, World-Tracker, AccuTracking, among others) provide cell phone tracking solutions to individuals and businesses. Some mobile carriers even provide location services--Verizon's Chaperone and Sprint's Family Locator. Yet, the mobile masses have yet to widely adopt these cellular tracking services. Google hopes to change that with its free Latitude application.

CNET's Natali Del Conte gave this video report on The Early Show earlier this week.

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About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

25 comments
sixstringchef73
sixstringchef73

I don't trust google with anything anymore. Somehow they got personal information from me and charged my bank account(though I have never entered my acct number on my pc)$80 for "Google Money Tree". I have removed every possible google related product off my computer including the basic search engine.

HollandM
HollandM

NO! I read their privacy policy. I won't even use their freemail or toolbar. ANYBODY who trusts Google with their data hasn't read their privacy policy -- which clearly says that you have none.

seanferd
seanferd

http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-563567 I guess you'll have to copy/paste, since TR is still gagging on brackets. Good to see that it seems like apostrophes are fixed.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

While I didnt look much into it previously, it is good to know that someone cant really opt you in just by punching in your cell #. However, leaving the phone away from you is a bad idea, especially around anyone who thinks this is a godsend (those stupid losers).

seanferd
seanferd

I thought, "Ugh", and didn't bother to comment. But thanks to my Dark Reading daily newsletter, I found that article.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Google seems to be getting big and sloppy like MS. I wonder, how long before big and sloppy takes it down?

seanferd
seanferd

Less like a wet kiss, and more like Civilization?

bmwr606
bmwr606

already using it both to be followed and to follow my buddy gave me turn by turn directions to a bar in real time by following me on his phone love it

Jaqui
Jaqui

what's a cell phone? ;) I refuse to carry one.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Please forgive me, but parents have a deeper sense of keeping up with the times. The peace of mind provided by being able to contact your child so totally over rides the argument of not having a cell phone. Ironically, it's that simple.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not a parent, and the last I heard Jaqui and his child didn't live in the same country or time zone.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I won't refuse to carry one if it's a job requirement. I do refuse to foot the bill myself. Track all you want; you won't find me.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

a cell phone is an evil device pushed on the public as a device needed for constant communication. It's design is there so that you can be reached, or contact another life form theoretically at any time. However there are design flaws. First, does one really need to be available constantly -- I mean really, what if your boss calls :0 :0 on a Saturday even :0 :0 :0 By Design, cell phones fail to perform wherever needed the most. This is built in, they have a stress detector, and if stress is detected, they lose the signal :0 Many salespeople, when trying to get you on a service plan will tell you the benefits of having one in an emergency. What they dont tell you is the cell phone CAUSES emergencies by failing too often forcing one to throw it out of the car window. However, with the force of the throw due to aggravation, one will veer the car too much and then we have an accident, caused by the cell phone. The only good use of a cell phone these days is under the car tire.

2vanscleveland
2vanscleveland

haven't had a cell phone for 14 months now (twice or maybe three times I've missed it). Google - or ?... - will soon want to implant a tracking device under my skin I suppose.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

It's here. At least it seems as though if I took the time, I could block everyone I can think of who has my cell number. Man. You folks really need to give us the option to let a video fully load before we play it. This stopped and started and stopped and started and stopped and started... I finally gave up.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

that was the impression I got at least. Hmmm, I wonder, if you put someone elses # in there??? The Google site just asks for a # to start tracking???

santeewelding
santeewelding

Igor has no cell phone. Wouldn't know how to use one. Chewing is all he knows. And I, I have signed up for a chainsaw class.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

After the first few, the thrill is almost gone. Then you move on to other things, such as jagged daggers and the like :D

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

On Wednesday, Google released Latitude--an application that let's you track someone's location using their mobile phone. Are you ready to let people track you? Watch this report and then take our quick poll. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=257 Who would you let track your location? Would periodically turn off your cell phone to prevent being tracked? If someone that you were tracking turned off their cell phone, would you think they were hiding something?

st.kpo15
st.kpo15

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st.kpo15
st.kpo15

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tech4me
tech4me

I like the (best intentions) idea but can also understand the (legitimate) paranoid concerns many people will have with this. I've actually wanted to see something like this for years. I was always out somewhere on a weekend and thought it would be cool to know if any of my friends were close by (without randomly ringing them all). Imagine it, you're down at the beach, or at the mall, and suddenly your phone beeps. You look at it, and it says 2 contacts are within 1-3km of you. You see your buddy Matt is close by, so you SMS him and find out what he's doing and if he wants to meet up. You can set the distance you want people to be able to track you down to, and only allow it for 'friends'. You can also turn tracking off just like turning your phone on silent. It's the next logical step from all the Facebook/Myspace/Twitter craze where everyone wants to tell the world where they are and what they're doing. Teenagers at the mall are going to love this! Then again, so are the tyranical bosses who want to know exactly where their employees are at all times. I can just imagine someone's boss spying on them throughout the day to make sure they didn't skip off to the bank while they were on the clock, etc. It'll be one of those little conditions they put on your contract when they hand over that company phone to you.

compudog
compudog

with all of the things mentioned by tech4me above that can be used to find each other, why would any sane person want to make sure to tell a huge, faceless corporation where they are whenever their phone is on? probably just me, but facebook, linkedin, twitter, myspace, friendster, bebo, ning... the zillion i.m. services, texting, emailing... hey - you could even call someone and ask them where they are BEFORE showing up unannounced to ruin their evening... the means has become the end, again, and eventually i guess we'll either get bored with never seeing anything other than one display or another and will do some real (as opposed to virtual) networking, or... we won't.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

for someone to write about this. However, I wasnt interested enough to do it myself.. Anyway, nope, not planning to use it. Some concerns would be, although it can be turned off, unless your device is off, Google will still be tracking you (just not allowing others to). I do hope that lots of criminals do use this, that way the POLICE and FBI will have constant access to wherever these lowlife dirtbags are :D

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