Thursday, October 21, 2021

Early thoughts on Google Latitude

February 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

I like Google Latitude so far, but I am a little afraid of how privacy is being implemented right now.

Currently, you can set automatic updates based on your phone’s triangulation or GPS, manual updates (which means you have to remember to change them), and lastly, no sharing (hide). On the individual friend level, you have the option of your friends seeing where you are exactly (as per the above), at a city level only, or hide.

The problem is that by default your options are limited. You could accidentally leave it on auto and all your friends might discover something about your whereabouts, and manually setting things is a bit tedious… in order for the privacy issue to be resolved, I think that you need to be able to have a default share options of:

Exact – Triangulated
Zone – Take out the point, just make a big circle around a 3km radius
City – Just the metro area you are in
Hide – Anything greater than a city is pointless, so hide is the next option

That way if there is somewhere you are going that you want to hide from all your friends at once, you can do so with one action, as opposed to going through your list one by one.

That aside, I think the service is the foundation for many great things to come, particularly if you can integrate calling and messaging into what can be done with where your friends are. It is unfortunate that it isn’t a system level thing (other than for Android phones maybe, but don’t have one so not sure) so that the app could share its location data to other apps like the messaging app for some additional functionality across the board.

What will I use Latitude for? Honestly, until most of my friends are on it (this is the problem with it being a service that requires user logins and accounts) probably not much. If a good base of my friends were on it, I think I’d be inclined to check to see who is near me before messaging people (from a separate app, sigh) about getting together. Until then, it’ll be a nifty thing that I’ll use with my other tech-saavy friends.

Related Chromewalker Posts

Location Based Services Part 1: The iPhone 3G experience

Location Based Services Part 2: Privacy Concerns & Other Hurdles to Adoption

Location Based Services Part 3: Chromewalker’s Four Cardinal Points of Location 

Location Based Services Part 4: Location Enabling All Phone Applications

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