Google Wants to Stalk You and Help You Stalk Your Friends

By PatB
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Google introduced a new service called Latitude yesterday.  It is a social networking service based on Google Maps that shows any friends that you have that are nearby. It can also be used to see the status of family that may be on the move, such as getting home from the airport after a rough flight. Check out the video below.

Whether geographical based computing will prove to be beneficial or not has yet to be decided, but Google has staked out their own territory in this market now. Do you think having such a service will improve your social life? And do you feel comfortable with having a powerful corporate entity tracking your movements? And what if the government offered this as a service?

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6 Responses to Google Wants to Stalk You and Help You Stalk Your Friends

  1. My first thought when I saw this was, “wow, think of all the illegal activities that could be facilitated with such a service.” Here’s a few: drug dealer networks, prostitution rings, stalking. Then there’s the unethical stuff: the ability track your significant other or your teenage kids, assuming you’re tech-savvy enough to hide the app on their phone after it’s enabled. Then there’s government access to this…something they can probably already do with cell tower triangulation if you don’t have GPS. Practically speaking, this will drain my Blackberry battery faster, since I suspect it will turn the GPS radio on all the time if I let it.

    Still I can’t resist the urge to try it out…

  2. My first thought when I saw this was, "wow, think of all the illegal activities that could be facilitated with such a service." Here's a few: drug dealer networks, prostitution rings, stalking. Then there's the unethical stuff: the ability track your significant other or your teenage kids, assuming you're tech-savvy enough to hide the app on their phone after it's enabled. Then there's government access to this…something they can probably already do with cell tower triangulation if you don't have GPS. Practically speaking, this will drain my Blackberry battery faster, since I suspect it will turn the GPS radio on all the time if I let it.

    Still I can't resist the urge to try it out…

  3. I agree Doug,

    This type of application just plain creeps me out. If our largest corporations are pushing out the development of these supersersonalized applications, that know who you are where you are and what you are doing 24 hours a day, then there is no such thing as privacy. Call me old school, but I don’t think it’s a far stretch at all to say that these records of where you were listed in latitude could be subpoenaed. Imagine if someone took your cell phone or cloned your ID, and commited a crime!
    Of course, that’s a more paranoid assumption, but I don’t think we should give up our inherent annonymity and privacy for a social network! Viva Ludite 2.0 !

  4. I agree Doug,

    This type of application just plain creeps me out. If our largest corporations are pushing out the development of these supersersonalized applications, that know who you are where you are and what you are doing 24 hours a day, then there is no such thing as privacy. Call me old school, but I don't think it's a far stretch at all to say that these records of where you were listed in latitude could be subpoenaed. Imagine if someone took your cell phone or cloned your ID, and commited a crime!

    Of course, that's a more paranoid assumption, but I don't think we should give up our inherent annonymity and privacy for a social network! Viva Ludite 2.0 !