or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple's 'Friend Locator' app could allow remote iPhone tracking
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple's 'Friend Locator' app could allow remote iPhone tracking

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Friends could more easily find each other, or parents could track their child's location with a new push-based location service proposed by Apple similar to Google Latitude.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a new application this week from Apple entitled "Push-Based Location Update." The proposed invention relies on a new iPhone application entitled "Friend Locator" that would allow users of Apple's smartphone to willingly share their location with others.

In the proposed invention, location is shared through updates requested by Apple's push notification service. Users have the ability to automatically share their location via GPS, or manually send an update.

A push update for a user's current location can also be triggered by the owner of another device, who may be requesting the information. This would rely on the the "Friend Locator" iPhone application illustrated in the patent filing.

Signing in with an e-mail address and password, users could access the Friend Locator application that would contain a virtual "Friend List." From here, friends could be tracked based on their name, distance or "visibility," meaning whether the user has turned off location sharing.



Within this application, someone's name could be selected, and their location would show up as a digital "push pin" on a map. From here, directions to the person's location could be obtained.

Users could also choose what information is shared or kept private, such as their home address, mobile number, or current location. The Friend Locator app would also give users the ability to hide their current location from a single, specific user.



The patent application was filed on June 17, 2009, and was made public this week. The proposed invention is credited to Richard Williamson, Christopher Blumenberg, Seejo Pylappan, and Howard James.

The described service is essentially Apple's own take on Google Latitude, which also shares friends' locations and directions to their current spot. But Apple's method would be a native application that could be accessed with an iTunes account login.

The Google Latitude application was initially refused from the iPhone App Store, because Apple was concerned the software could "create user confusion" with the preloaded Maps app. But the Google Latitude app eventually appeared on the App Store earlier this month, allowing users to see where their friends are and share their current location in the background via GPS.
post #2 of 19
Although nice, is this really patent-able? Or should this be patent-able?
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
Reply
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
Reply
post #3 of 19
iMeet does something like that, so what is the difference?
post #4 of 19
A lot like Google's latitude, but different enough that people will say they did it better, and eventually say they did it first
post #5 of 19
This could instantly destroy every online dating service in existence. Now they just need to add a 'sonar sweep' or Layar-style graphic overlay UI to help pinpoint the other person in a crowd.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #6 of 19
where are all the cries of the Orwellian future this will usher in?

Could also be useful for business that want to keep track of where their delivery trucks are for example - tied into other scanner and or credit card scanning etc - could make the iPhone the keystone (or would it be capstone? or cornerstone? or foundation?) of a complete Business Suite for anyone who has people, goods or services that are delivered to the end user.

With proper coding and websites etc - you could track not only the delivery progress of you next FedEx package but also your pizza.
post #7 of 19
Google Latitude sucks the battery's dry on our iPhone 4's. I wish I could set a manual update interval.
Hard-Core.
Reply
Hard-Core.
Reply
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

where are all the cries of the Orwellian future this will usher in?

I'd have to wait and see exactly how this is implemented. If a given user can be tracked without knowing or opting out, then I certainly will raise my voice in cry against it.

If it's a matter of turing the app on on my end and selecting who can track me, then I would personally decline but not be terribly concerned about the privacy of those who elect to broadcast their location.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

Although nice, is this really patent-able? Or should this be patent-able?

Sure. The catch is whether it should be the mere idea or the way it is handled. If you look at it, this is almost exactly Google Latitude in idea. Which will led to a fight over who had the idea first etc. Apple might have grounds to say they did and shut down Google Lat. Or if the tech and UI are handled differently they could say they only care about how they do it. Or Google could pull out their earlier patent and try to sue Apple. Or if one side does try to hit the other, the courts could say only the how is protected by their patents and that is different.

personally I feel like the issue with patents is that for a time, and not so long ago, mere ideas and very broad ones, were granted protection. I don't agree with the move. I feel that there should be tech in the patent, either coding or a real plan of implementation with UI etc. You can't copyright an story idea, only the characters, plot etc. I feel like patents should be handled the same way.

And then there is my feeling about letting folks file in whatever district they wish. I think that should be nixed and they should have to file in the district where they or another party is located.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This could instantly destroy every online dating service in existence.

Not at all. The point of a dating service is to meet people you on't know. Unlike this app and GL which requires you to enter the person into the system and they have to approve you seeing them

If anything this would be a compliment to those systems


Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I'd have to wait and see exactly how this is implemented.

So after reading the article, you figure they are lying and are waiting for them to release this app so you can rip it apart and seeing if it is really sending your location to the gov't et al without your approval or not.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Not at all. The point of a dating service is to meet people you on't know. Unlike this app and GL which requires you to enter the person into the system and they have to approve you seeing them

If anything this would be a compliment to those systems

It should be relatively easy to locate any person in your proximity who would be a match for your description or have Apple's Genius match you with someone based on your preferences... heck, just pulling data from Facebook and proximity should be able to do it.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #11 of 19
Something like this might be useful, a pop up arrives:- "so and so wants to know where you are", "tell them? "Yes", "No", "Choose Location - Office, -Library, -Custom".
A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this...
Reply
A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.A problem occurred with this...
Reply
post #12 of 19
After using Latitude for over a week I've gradually come to the conclusion that it mostly sucks. Positions are sometimes totally unreliable. Just last night it showed my stepdaughter at the mall but I knew that was doubtful. I then used FindMyPhone and that showed her 5 miles from the mall at her apartment, which was correct. Many other times I've seen Latitude show a position that was totally off base like this. And for some reason Latitude isn't showing the person's profile picture, just a stock silhouette. Latitude has to be continuously running which helps drain your battery a bit faster.

What I want is an app that when I trigger it from my phone, will fire up the GPS in the target phone, get a fix, report back, and then go back to sleep. And do it pronto. Hopefully Apple's version of this won't suck.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

A lot like Google's latitude, but different enough that people will say they did it better, and eventually say they did it first

And will be ok with it since it's Apple
"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

So after reading the article, you figure they are lying and are waiting for them to release this app so you can rip it apart and seeing if it is really sending your location to the gov't et al without your approval or not.

Um, first of all I'm responding to "Where are all the cries of the Orwellian future this will usher in?", which I figured could wait until we had the app in our hands. Secondly, the article describes a patent filing, so we have no way of knowing the particulars of Apple's implementation, or if they will ever implement this at all, so there's nothing to accuse of "lying" in the sense you mean.

I don't really expect Apple to make iPhones constantly broadcast their position to anyone who wants to know, and certainly not make that feature remotely switchable by another party. I was just saying that, were that to be the case, I would certainly join in with "cries of the Orwellian future."

The point of that, since you seem a little, uh, resistant to the tone, is to gently imply such fears are overblown. Along the lines of responding to cries of "Witch!" by suggesting we wait until the accused is seen flying about before we indulge in any burnings.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #15 of 19
Those images in the patent look just like the screenshot in Friendy, an app already in the app store:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/frien...389212154?mt=8

post #16 of 19
This app is a helicopter parent's wet dream.
I'm glad this wasn't around when I grew up.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwi53092 View Post

This app is a helicopter parent's wet dream.
I'm glad this wasn't around when I grew up.

1] drop cell phones off at the library
2] go wherever you damn well please fore a few hours
3] go back to the library to pick up your phones.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

1] drop cell phones off at the library
2] go wherever you damn well please fore a few hours
3] go back to the library to pick up your phones.

4) Try to explain why a homeless guy is carrying around your phone to your parents.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #19 of 19
Found out on the app Store recently that an app does exactly that and much more... It's called Wamp (short for "Where Are My Pals").
You can even lie to your parents (no need to leave your phone at the library) and tell where you are even if the GPS doesn't find your location... On top of that it allows you to tell your friends what you're up to, how you're feeling and whether you're available to talk or not.
Once you get used to the unusual navigation (you need to push things left, right, up or down instead of tapping) it is blazing fast and fun to use, I've even installed it on my iPod Touch, so that the nanny can tell us where she is and what the baby's doing...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple's 'Friend Locator' app could allow remote iPhone tracking