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Google software for tracking mobile users coming to iPhone

post #1 of 43
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Google this morning announced new software that will let mobile phone users share their whereabouts with family or friends, and it's due to turn up on the iPhone shortly.

Dubbed Google Latitude, the technology is actually a new feature of the search giant's Maps software for mobile phones and an iGoogle gadget that can be installed on your computer.

"Once you've opted in to Latitude, you can see the approximate location of your friends and loved ones who have decided to share their location with you," Google said.

"So now you can do things like see if your spouse is stuck in traffic on the way home from work, notice that a buddy is in town for the weekend, or take comfort in knowing that a loved one's flight landed safely, despite bad weather."

The new software also ties into the company's existing fleet of communication services, letting family and friends keep in constant touch through SMS messages, Google Talk, Gmail, or by status message updates. Users can also change their profile photo on the fly.

At the same time, the Mountain View-based firm said it recognizes the sensitivity of location data and has thus built "fine-grained privacy controls" right into the application. Everything about the new Latitude is said to be opt-in, allowing users to not only control exactly who gets to see their location, but also what location they see.

"For instance, let's say you are in Rome. Instead of having your approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can manually set your location for elsewhere -- perhaps a visit to Niagara Falls," Google said. "Since you may not want to share the same information with everyone, Latitude lets you change the settings on a friend-by-friend basis. So for each person, you can choose to share your best available location or your city-level location, or you can hide."



Latitude is currently available in 27 countries on the Blackberry, S60, and Windows Mobile operating systems via google.com/latitude. In the coming days, Google plans to expand the service to its Android-powered handsets. Latitude is also coming to the iPhone "very soon" through the Google Mobile App available for download on the App Store, the company said.

Meanwhile, computer users can visit google.com/latitude on their desktop or notebook to install the Latitude iGoogle gadget and share their location right from their computer.
post #2 of 43
I guess, in a few years, this will seem normal, but it seems a little freaky to me...
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post #3 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I guess, in a few years, this will seem normal, but it seems a little freaky to me...

Yeah it is I don't support it I can't see why Apple would either.
post #4 of 43
How would it work on the iPhone since it doesn't allow background processes? It could not automatically keep the Google server up to date, you would have to manually touch the icon to send an update.
post #5 of 43
I hate the words "shortly" and "soon". And I can't do anything about that.
post #6 of 43
I love it, but I must admit the part about "hiding" kind of bothers me. If you can be in Rome but have Google maps tell everyone you are in New York that kind of puts a giant flaw in the reliability of geo-location it seems to me. I think you should be able to either be located or not and that's it.
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post #7 of 43
It's called Loopt.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


"For instance, let's say you are in Rome. Instead of having your approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can manually set your location for elsewhere -- perhaps a visit to Niagara Falls," Google said. "Since you may not want to share the same information with everyone, Latitude lets you change the settings on a friend-by-friend basis. So for each person, you can choose to share your best available location or your city-level location, or you can hide."


If I'm in Rome with my girlfriend Google will help me tell my wife I'm in New York? Hmm. If I recall from my long-ago youth, the Eighth Commandment says something like, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. And Google's motto is something like "Don't Be Evil". How come they're giving me a tool designed to help me bear false witness?
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post

How come they're giving me a tool designed to help me bear false witness?

You're still the one lying, not Google. You might as well blame the phone company when you tell a lie over the phone.
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post

If I'm in Rome with my girlfriend Google will help me tell my wife I'm in New York? Hmm. If I recall from my long-ago youth, the Eighth Commandment says something like, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. And Google's motto is something like "Don't Be Evil". How come they're giving me a tool designed to help me bear false witness?

Maybe you want to look like your home when you are in NYC so no one tells a buddy you are out of town and they break in your house while you are in NYC.

Just a thought.
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post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by LE Studios View Post

Yeah it is I don't support it I can't see why Apple would either.

You have a choice to not download and use the application.

Apple has nothing to do with it other than selling an application like thousands of others.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by LE Studios View Post

Yeah it is I don't support it I can't see why Apple would either.

Stuff like this has been available for years on regular phones. And if this scares you, some Googling will get you commercially available software, made to install on a phone and hide itself and the report back positioning information, call data, copies of SMS, you name it.
post #13 of 43
Yes, and it's the car company's fault when you speed because the car is capable of going over the speed limit - haha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

You're still the one lying, not Google. You might as well blame the phone company when you tell a lie over the phone.
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Maybe you want to look like your home when you are in NYC so no one tells a buddy you are out of town and they break in your house while you are in NYC.

If your buddy breaks into your house while you're away, you have bigger problems.

Seriously, your location is shown only to those people to whom you have given explicit permission. A random person off the street cannot see your location, because you have not given them permission. If you cannot trust your friends, you have bigger issues.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

It's called Loopt.

Yeah, loopt already does all this for the iPhone, and it also has twitter and facebook links. I see no reason why I'd want to use Google's service.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandy1997 View Post

Yes, and it's the car company's fault when you speed because the car is capable of going over the speed limit - haha!

On the other hand, a chip in every car that forced the driver to obey the speed limit would end more than half of all accidents and save thousands and thousands of lives a year, around the world.

Just Sayin.
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post #17 of 43
Google is proud to announce Latitude for Business, allowing Admin to see exactly where you are or if you're goofing off.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTheH View Post

If your buddy breaks into your house while you're away, you have bigger problems.

Seriously, your location is shown only to those people to whom you have given explicit permission. A random person off the street cannot see your location, because you have not given them permission. If you cannot trust your friends, you have bigger issues.

Reread. If your buddy mentions to one of his friends that you are out of town and that guy breaks in or spreads the word to another guy.

Regarding the chip in cars, it would be hacked.
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post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

On the other hand, a chip in every car that forced the driver to obey the speed limit would end more than half of all accidents and save thousands and thousands of lives a year, around the world.

Just Sayin.

Yeah, it would also cripple the already suffering car industry some more as not everybody buys a car to go from A to B, some actually like driving.
post #20 of 43
What's to object to? This is an easy way to VOLUNTARILY tell friends where you are--something we already do the hard way all the time.

I wouldn't turn it on most of the time, but I would LOVE it for certain situations. Like exploring a fair or park, and being able to find each other when you split up. Much better than "meet me at the fountain at 4:30." Meet whenever, wherever. Then turn it off when you go home for the day. Easy.

I want this integrated into iPhone's Maps app (and Contact), complete with a photo on the pin.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Google this morning announced new software that will let mobile phone users share their whereabouts with family or friends, and it's due to turn up on the iPhone shortly.

Not coming to my iPhone anytime soon! The tinfoil hat crowd are starting to make more and more sense every day!
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post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by perrin21 View Post

Yeah, it would also cripple the already suffering car industry some more as not everybody buys a car to go from A to B, some actually like driving.

Well, drivers being what they are I realise this is not going to happen (that's what the "Just Sayin was about).

That being said, it's still a great idea IMO and your assertion that it would "ruin" the auto industry is just wild speculation based on nothing at all, whilst at least my thoughts were based on some long established realities. Unfortunately people who "like to drive" or consider themselves "a drivers driver" or some such, are actually a big part of the problem.
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post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

On the other hand, a chip in every car that forced the driver to obey the speed limit would end more than half of all accidents and save thousands and thousands of lives a year, around the world.

Just Sayin.

Where do you get that statistic? I don't believe speeding causes deaths. It's VARIATION in speed and direction that does. If I'm driving 80 MPH on Highway 5, I'm safer than the guy going 65 on Highway 580 but weaving in and out of traffic.
post #24 of 43
Seeing as all those terrorists apparently use google maps this will be great for them. Whilst at their training camps in Syria they can set their location to LA.
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

How would it work on the iPhone since it doesn't allow background processes? It could not automatically keep the Google server up to date, you would have to manually touch the icon to send an update.

Funny you should ask that. :-) Check out this link:

apple_rumored_allowing_real_background_apps_on_iph one

.
post #26 of 43
If this can be enabled as a setting that can be set by an administrator (i.e. parent) so that it can't be turned off, this (and a cheaper model and plan) will result in the iPhone my kid wants.
Only those with kids they worry about may flame me as a fascist on this.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

If this can be enabled as a setting that can be set by an administrator (i.e. parent) so that it can't be turned off, this (and a cheaper model and plan) will result in the iPhone my kid wants.
Only those with kids they worry about may flame me as a fascist on this.

I agree with you, lojacking your kids is the way to go. Plus if their phone get stolen you can hunt down the thieving scum and do them in.
post #28 of 43
I applaud Google for taking this step further. If this is spread across all phones it will be much easier to find missing people or for parents to know where their teenage kid is.

I know people automatically think of negative of this, but how much positive usefulness this brings. For example if your friend is lost, he/she can find your faster if you're around the next block.
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post #29 of 43
Devastating news for those girlfriend/wife cheaters out there.
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

I agree with you, lojacking your kids is the way to go. Plus if their phone get stolen you can hunt down the thieving scum and do them in.

Yes, yes, and yes! This app is not a negative. If you don't need it, don't activate it.
If you're like me, though, you'd activate it for a select group of about five people,
and you'd save yourself from dozens or hundreds of text messages a month asking,
"Where are you?" -- or even worse, "Whr u at".

It would also be nice to know where your kids are. Even if they have a phone, and
COULD call you and tell you that the pick-up location after practice has changed, they
will "forget" to call, and be at the restaurant down the street, or a friend's house, etc.

Then there's the teenage daughter favorite: "Can I get a ride to the church with
Larry's mom?" which secretly means, "Can I be taken to Larry's house for some
unsupervised time alone with him two hours before church, and then dropped off
there later so it looks like I was there the whole time?"

We need this technology.
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post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I guess, in a few years, this will seem normal, but it seems a little freaky to me...

Let's hope that it NEVER seems normal.

I'm happy to see that people are thinking more critically about this type of "service" than in the recent past. Is it possible that there are specific cases where this might be useful? Sure. But in general, this stuff is leading down a very scary path if it becomes "normal".

Couple things to consider:

1) Fine-grained privacy controls are okay to keep out the casual dude perusing the internet. But at the end of the day you're giving detailed information about your exact whereabouts to Google (or whatever other companies may offer these services). That alone is scary, and the start of going down a slippery slope. When I can run my own server to manage the location information, then I might consider it for certain purposes, such as kid-tracking (with consent), spousal coordination, etc.

2) When "everyone" partakes in certain activities, those who don't begin to stand out. These days many people don't seem to mind being tracked, disaggregated, and basically watched over day and night. From their purchases to their whereabouts. Sophisticated profiles are made of millions of people every day. From a privacy advocacy standpoint that's troubling, and it gets harder and harder to avoid because there's a ton of money to be made from such data.

It's not all evil stuff, but in general, making sure everyone is aware of what's happening with their personal information on a daily basis will help folks make better, critical decisions about what kind of information they share, especially with businesses.
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post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

I love it, but I must admit the part about "hiding" kind of bothers me. If you can be in Rome but have Google maps tell everyone you are in New York that kind of puts a giant flaw in the reliability of geo-location it seems to me. I think you should be able to either be located or not and that's it.

Yeah, what's the point or where's the trust if your location can be falsified, so to speak? What kind of disclaimers are they going to have to put on this if people (a parent) are going to use this to keep tabs on someone (their child)? I mean are they going to be selling this with a big *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*?

post #33 of 43
Come on people. We all know AT&T would never share privacy information
with the government.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Yeah, what's the point or where's the trust if your location can be falsified, so to speak? What kind of disclaimers are they going to have to put on this if people (a parent) are going to use this to keep tabs on someone (their child)? I mean are they going to be selling this with a big *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*?


"Wherever you go, there you aren't"
post #35 of 43
So it won't run in the background on the iphone (totally useless, who wants to wait for it to find your location, vs. timed automatic updates)

And it doesn't have nearly as many features as Yahoo's fireeagle, which has been out for longer.

Totally bleeping lame.
post #36 of 43
Soon, it will be physically impossible to break any law. Or to lie and cheat.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by wealthychef View Post

Where do you get that statistic? I don't believe speeding causes deaths. It's VARIATION in speed and direction that does. If I'm driving 80 MPH on Highway 5, I'm safer than the guy going 65 on Highway 580 but weaving in and out of traffic.

Well this whole thing is driving the thread off topic and it was originally just a humorous remark so I won't be defending this other than this last post, but .... you are wrong.

Interesting how a little remark like this that was just meant in fun totally gets under some people's skin though.

I didn't quote any "statistics" (I don't have any handy right now and I am hardly a giant expert on the subject), but it's been a well known thing for years and years that "speeding kills" and that speeding is a major factor in most accidents. Not slowing down *below* the speed limit (as you are actually required by law to do), in foggy or wet situations also counts as "speeding" in that you are overdriving or going too fast for the road conditions. In my country I am treated to commercials daily telling me that it's a factor in something like 75% or all accidents, but I don't really believe it's a big factor in some so I dialed it back so as to not be so over the top.

Drivers always think that they can drive any speed they want and that this doesn't affect accident rates or make it more likely for an accident to occur. This is just a popular misconception though and has no basis in fact. The driver "feels" in control and thus it's not a problem, but that feeling is really only ... well, a feeling.

My favourite advice on this topic is from actual race car drivers. I don't remember the guy's name but I saw a documentary on the misconceptions of the everyday driver once and a very famous racing icon was asked what he thinks contributes to accidents or what makes someone a bad driver. His answer?

Inattention and Overdriving. Speeding is overdriving by definition unless you have the reflexes and experience of a race car driver. I'm guessing that most of the people speeding *believe* they have these skills, but it's not likely is it?

Speeding is a HUGE factor in accidents, and defenders of of it usually say something like "speeding doesn't cause accidents, poor driving and inattention causes accidents." But this makes no sense of course. This just redefines "going faster than my ability to control the car" (speeding), as "poor driving."

It sure is poor driving. It's also known as "speeding."
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post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

On the other hand, a chip in every car that forced the driver to obey the speed limit would end more than half of all accidents and save thousands and thousands of lives a year, around the world.

Just Sayin.

I'd say the vast majority of accidents are down to idiocy rather than speed.
In fact the UK Department Of Transport reports only 2% of accidents were caused by speeding in the UK.

The top causes of accidents are:

* Failed to look properly
* Failed to judge other persons path/speed
* Careless, reckless or in a hurry
* Poor turn/maneuver
* Loss of control
* Going too fast for conditions (but under the posted limit)
* Pedestrian failed to look properly
* Following too close
* Sudden braking
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post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

I'd say the vast majority of accidents are down to idiocy rather than speed.
In fact the UK Department Of Transport reports only 2% of accidents were caused by speeding in the UK.

The top causes of accidents are:

* Failed to look properly
* Failed to judge other persons path/speed
* Careless, reckless or in a hurry
* Poor turn/maneuver
* Loss of control
* Going too fast for conditions (but under the posted limit)
* Pedestrian failed to look properly
* Following too close
* Sudden braking

I'm sorry, but aren't a number of these really speeding, or involve speeding?

* Failed to look properly - Could happen from a full-stop I guess.
* Failed to judge other persons path/speed - In relation to my speed?
* Careless, reckless or in a hurry - This means "speeding"
* Poor turn/maneuver - While speeding?
* Loss of control - Speeding can cause this.
* Going too fast for conditions (but under the posted limit) - This mean "speeding".
* Pedestrian failed to look properly - Ouch. Maybe he couldn't look quickly enough?
* Following too close - This can mean "speeding". If the person in front of you is slowing down there's probably a reason. Your speed can be excessive for those conditions, even if you think you're under the limit.
* Sudden braking - I'm on the fence for this one.

2%? I don't believe that for a minute.

Okay, we can get back to the actual thread now.
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post #40 of 43
Only thing is, you'll have to have the app open and running on an iPhone before it will report anything. Might as well just place a phone call and ask the question.
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