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Google aims to track users with wi-fi
Track users within 100-200 ft to show relevant ads
christopher w




msg:1231667
 2:59 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

As a follow-up to the San Fran wi-fi story this article is from the Financial Times today:

Google aims to be able to track its users to within 100-200 feet of their location through new wireless networks in order to serve them with relevant advertising from local businesses.

Google says users linking up with wi-fi transmitters placed around cities can be located to within a couple of blocks. This would open up a new level of advertising opportunities for the company, allowing it to serve tightly focused ads on its web pages from small businesses in the immediate area.

Financial Times article courtesy of MSN [msnbc.msn.com]

 

joaquin112




msg:1231668
 4:09 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wow, that seems interesting. However, that would be a big hit to privacy, letting Google know exactly where you've been and more importantly, where you are right now!

Kufu




msg:1231669
 4:17 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is indeed very interesting, and privacy may be a concern. But if you just shut off your computer then you disappear off of their grid. Or am I being too na´ve?

twist




msg:1231670
 4:27 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

in order to serve them with relevant advertising from local businesses

I can't get relevent advertisements now, unless MFA = relevance.

zeus




msg:1231671
 4:40 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

They just cant stop now, its much worse then microsoft now, I dont know any that has SO much info about there users as google

rogerd




msg:1231672
 4:59 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Imagine combining behavioral, contextual, and geographic targeting into one ultra-effective advertising engine.

Kufu




msg:1231673
 5:00 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well you can't really blame them. Google is a corporation and will try to make as much money as possible using the information that they are able to gather.

They provide good services in exchange for a bit of loss of privacy (e.g. Gmail). If I'm willing to make that trade (which I have with Gmail) then I can't complain about the loss of privacy.

As long as I don't have to have a Google barcode on my body somewhere, and I am not vitally tied to Google then I think it is ok.

rjbearcan




msg:1231674
 5:43 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't really see the big problem. They want to find where you are so they can provide very relevant ads. Considering the gamble that companies take with tv, radio and other ads that may not appeal to everyone, companies are always looking to connect with people on a more personal, relevant level. Google may find where you are but little else. I hardly see that Google is worse than Microsoft. Google is innovating, Microsoft is one mistake after another.

jamie




msg:1231675
 6:25 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

that sounds amazing, minority report really is around the corner!

Alex_Miles




msg:1231676
 6:39 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Its not Google that worries me, its what the US government will get up to when they get their greedy paws on the info.

Kufu




msg:1231677
 7:00 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

that sounds amazing, minority report really is around the corner!

What did I do with my eye scooper? ;)

willybfriendly




msg:1231678
 7:19 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, if I am in SF, sitting in my favorite bakery enjoyinga latte and pastry, will I be bombarded with ads for the Starbucks just down the street?

That will really make me happy...NOT!

WBF

Hugene




msg:1231679
 8:45 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

For real, that rings odly close to Minority Report and other sci-fi works where we see ads targeted to individuals. Well, georgaphically target ads is still VERY far from actuall individual targeted ads, but its a big leap forward that I thought would take much longer to coocur. I am surprised by the rapid development G is doing.

I don't think that knowing your location is a big privacy concern, what about credit cards and atms; they can map your daily routine for quite a few years now.

What matters is for G to ensure that the US government (or any other government) won't have access to this information, so I hope they hire a massive lawyer team.

Next step: no need for bar code on your skin, what about RFID in your clothes.....

marcel




msg:1231680
 9:25 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, if I am in SF, sitting in my favorite bakery enjoyinga latte and pastry, will I be bombarded with ads for the Starbucks just down the street?

That will really make me happy...NOT!


Well, if you are using the G WiFi for free, then you really have nothing to complain about...

NickCoons




msg:1231681
 11:48 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the network is free and wide-open, then they can target ads based on the location of your computer.. they have no identifying information of the person actually sitting at the computer, so there aren't necessarily any privacy concerns there. If they make you sign up for an account before you can use it, then they can tie it to your account, but still not you.

On the other hand, I suspect signing up for such an account will require personally identifiable information to be turned over (name, address, date of birth, etc).

Even then, tracking someone like this (as someone else said) through credit card transactions, ATM use, and even cell phones (to give a general area of where someone's at) has been possible for quite some time. In fact, I believe you cell phone communicates with the network fairly often to get updated time information and voicemail notifications (to put the little icon on your phone telling you that you have voicemail). I don't see this as opening up any new privacy threats, though perhaps expanding on existing ones.

But I agree with "if you don't like it, don't use it."

willybfriendly




msg:1231682
 2:46 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, if you are using the G WiFi for free, then you really have nothing to complain about...

If G begins "infringing" on the business of non-advertisers, I would not be surprised to see a mini-boom in scramblers/blockers. No business owner would willingly allow a competitor to run ads on their premises.

Far less expensive for a one time purchase of a wi-fi blocker than to enter into a bidding war for local ads.

From June, 2004 - "UK defence contractor BAE Systems has developed a stealth wallpaper to beat electronic eavesdropping on company Wi-Fi networks...The company has produced panels using the technology to produce a screen that will prevent outsiders from listening in on companies' Wi-Fi traffic but let other radio and mobile phone traffic get through..."

Time to buy stock?

WBF

rjbearcan




msg:1231683
 4:48 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Far less expensive for a one time purchase of a wi-fi blocker than to enter into a bidding war for local ads.

Then they can watch all those customers move to another coffee shop or whatever that doesn't use a blocker.

Liane




msg:1231684
 12:36 am on Apr 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good grief! Things are getting way out of hand. With this sort of technology at their fingertips and despite the intent to do no evil ... I can see where this can lead to some BIG privacy issues. Particularly if used by government as a type of spy network.

I guess the next thing the computer manufacturers will come out with are non traceable internet connections for those with something to hide or those who simply don't want to be found. Someone like those with the initials OBL (and others) perhaps?

HK_photo




msg:1231685
 2:46 am on Apr 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Big Brother is watching...

I think this is a bad bad bad idea...

Serving competitors ads on your premsis... HUM...

Is G getting to smart for their own good?

I am buying BAE...

GameMasterM




msg:1231686
 2:46 pm on Apr 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good for Google and Earthlink. It's a FREE service by the way. If you hitch a ride on their wireless expect they will at least want something in exchange such as your location. What bad could possibly come from it?

On the other hand you could stay in your condo and remain hooked to your cable modem where, oh by the way they too know where you are!
In my mind I see nothing wrong with Google or any provider knowing where I am.

Liane




msg:1231687
 12:56 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see nothing wrong with Google or any provider knowing where I am

I don't either as I have absolutely nothing to hide from anyone. However, there are larger implications than just where you and I are. It is the potential for abuse that scares me. Freedoms and privacy are the issue here. The recent spate of illegal wiretaps and the potential for government abuse come to mind immediately ... along with a few other things.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but those with twisted minds can use this technology in some very bad ways. Imagine if a high ranking government official could be tracked to his/her exact location and a sniper was able to track him/her just because they booted up their laptop to send an e:mail.

This is much bigger than "Google" knowing where "you" are.

europeforvisitors




msg:1231688
 12:53 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Technology is a wonderful thing, but those with twisted minds can use this technology in some very bad ways. Imagine if a high ranking government official could be tracked to his/her exact location and a sniper was able to track him/her just because they booted up their laptop to send an e:mail.

Or imagine a government being able to track people to specific locations so they can be assassinated by snipers , bombers, or missiles. (Sound familiar?)

Mind you, this has nothing to do with Google.

hobbnet




msg:1231689
 8:21 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would have to assume they'll keep the "tracking" anonymous. Just like they do with "reading" email in gmail to serve relevant ads. People were throwing fits when they found out gmail was going to scan emails. Now, a couple of years later it seems like everyone and their brother has a gmail account. Needless to say, I don't think google has started stealing your grandma's secret chilli recipe that your aunt emailed you last month.

On the same token I think they could care less that "John Smith" just walked out of a 24 hour fitness and went straight to McDonald's after his workout. All they'll care about is serving that targetted Wendy's and Club One advertisement to another human body (not to John Smith specifically)

If you are into the conspiracy theories I'd worry about the GPS on your cell phone a lot more than Google wifi.

Me? I'm not worried quite yet. If you are...don't use their service.

Liane




msg:1231690
 11:22 am on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't have a G-mail account and don't own a cellphone. I have a Mac G4 laptop and a G5 desktop computer. I don't use those services and just feel that some technology is going too far.

I also don't believe that Google has any intention of using this information in an evil way. However, it does worry me that the US government recently asked for records from the various search engines and was given it by MSN and Yahoo and won at least some of the info from Google in court!

Is that a conspiracy theory or fact? Google is now entrenched in China. Does that worry anyone other than me?

rjbearcan




msg:1231691
 5:59 pm on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can't get over the number of people that are bad mouthing this. What's the problem? So what if Google wants to find where you are to provide more relevant ads. Every other company out there from GM to GE would love to do the same thing. It's the nature of advertising, to connect with people to get them to buy their products. Google believes they found a way to do it and good for them, I hope it works, I hope they make billions off it and put Microsoft out of business. Does anyone think that someone is going hack Google and find out where people are? I would like to see them try.

Liane




msg:1231692
 5:49 am on Apr 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

rjbearcan,

Does anyone think that someone is going hack Google and find out where people are? I would like to see them try.

That's my point! "They" don't have to hack Google! Some entities only have to ask/demand whatever information they want!

Any government can make laws which can force Google to give up anything they want, anywhere, anytime!

rjbearcan




msg:1231693
 8:47 pm on Apr 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did I slip into an alternate universe run by George Orwell? Just be thankful that Yahoo and MSN aren't going to be doing this type of advertising because they would hand over the information at the drop of a hat. Google fought the feds before and I can't see that Google would hand over that information if the army showed up at the plex. The goverment can huff and puff all they want and Google, privacy groups and users would tell the goverment where they can go.

wmuser




msg:1231694
 9:34 pm on Apr 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good idea but i doubt that they will develope it for users outside of the US

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