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Google Inc released software on Wednesday that allows users of mobile phones and other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends.
Users in 27 countries will be able to broadcast their location to others constantly, using Google Latitude. Controls allow users to select who receives the information or to go offline at any time, Google said on its Web site.
"Fun aside, we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application," Google said in a blog post announcing the service.
"You not only control exactly who gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they see."
No smartphone? [googleblog.blogspot.com]
No smartphone? No worries. Visit google.com/latitude on your desktop or laptop to install the Latitude iGoogle gadget and share your location right from your computer. If you have Google Gears installed in your browser (you do by default if you use Google Chrome), you can automatically share your location; otherwise, manually set your location to let your friends know where you are.
I'm fairly convinced that, in twenty years or so, we will all have a small device, that functions as a phone, browser, notebook, method of payment, storage for our medical information, GPS, camera, sound recorder .......................
Welcome to a new world! :)
I can see it having some advantages for example knowing exactly where your kids are. Or perhaps assisting law enforcement to recover stolen devices?
It is amazing just how much information people are willing to provide about themselfes. With this service people know where you are, if you use Twitter they know what youre doing.
The Director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, said:
"Many people will see Latitude as a cool product, but the reality is that Google has yet again failed to deliver strong privacy and security. The company has a long way to go before it can capture the trust of phone users."
"As it stands right now, Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends. The dangers to a user's privacy and security are as limitless as the imagination of those who would abuse this technology."
Controls allow users to select who receives the information
Well, except Google, I guess. They need to know. They will store the data, and use them for their own profit. This outfit has gone a long walk from being "just a very good search engine" to becoming "big brother" and the dream of any totalitarian politician.