Google’s Latitude

February 5th, 2009 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged many times over the last few years about how a future killer application will be one that combines , mapping and friend finder on your phone.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, has launched such a service. It is called Google Latitude. It works for New Zealand, and you can download it onto your blackberry and other phones. Only problem is a download error code 500 at the moment.

There are huge privacy issues around such services. They key is to only let people see your location who you totally trust. But it can be an easy way of meeting up in town etc. I’ll blog more on this once I actually get it installed and working.

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10 Responses to “Google’s Latitude”

  1. ngaruna (18 comments) says:

    We were listening to this story on the way to work this morning in the car. My 14 year old was completely unimpressed with the idea i’d be able to keep tabs on his where abouts 24/7 and resigned himself to turning his phone off – coming from a kid that can send over 2000 txts a month i suspect thats highly unlikely.

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  2. dime (9,855 comments) says:

    Google are evil i tells ya.

    Wonder how many terrorists will turn it on by mistake? :P

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  3. fredinthegrass (273 comments) says:

    I do not have cell phone coverage where I live.
    Oh Dear. How good is this place!

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  4. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    The state will abuse every technology that it can: how long before GPS is compulsory for all cellphones?

    Naturally they would only do it so that the police could control assist the population.

    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/who-are-the-police-really-serving/

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  5. Camryn (539 comments) says:

    Fire Eagle is the yahoo service, although it’s primary function is to take location data from an on-phone service like Google’s and allow you to trim out different levels of detail before passing it on to other parties (e.g. Facebook = maybe high level only, versus some specific friend finding app = more detail).

    The interesting thing I find is the 3 ways that phones can get locations (in the US):
    – Cell Tower (commonly used by non-GPS phones) – fairly inaccurate but easy and no additional drag on battery
    – GPS – very accurate as long as you can see the sky, bit of a battery drag
    – Wifi – some clever firms have compiled a database of what wifi networks can be ‘seen’ (not connect to) at what strengths at any given location, and use that pattern to match what your wifi-enabling phone is seeing. Works indoors and is accurate to 30m.

    I primarily use this, although I’m currently only tracking my own travels for kicks. No particular desire to share location. Try Navizon.

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  6. georgebolwing (794 comments) says:

    Interesting. Yes there are all sorts of issues about abuse by Governments and bad guys.

    But let us not forget that all technological advances have been abused by Governments and bad guys. Hamlet intercepted a letter from his Uncle to the King of England, forged a replacement and had Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed.

    As the father of a teenage daughter, I think is is a great idea. It will make her safer and me less worried.

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  7. Fibreman (18 comments) says:

    No iPhone? FAIL (as my 14-year old says).

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  8. ngaruna (18 comments) says:

    Lots of good safety aspects form such technology particularly when it comes to the beloved teenage population (although most would disagree). Lest we forget that the same technology will also apply to the: cheating, paranoid, friends, X’s, stalkers and other undisirables – thats kinda scary.

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  9. Fletch (6,295 comments) says:

    Lifehacker.com has a useful video on how to protect one’s privacy whilst using Latitude.

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