Google is watching you
05 February, 2009, California – Travel agents will soon be able to track their clients wherever they are in the world, thanks to a new Google application.
Others will be able to know exactly where family and friends are located during their travels.
With an upgrade to its mobile maps, Google hopes to prove it can track people on the go as effectively as it searches for information on the internet.
The new software will enable people with mobile phones and other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends.
The feature, dubbed "Latitude," expands upon a tool introduced in 2007 to allow mobile phone users to check their own location on a Google map with the press of a button.
"This adds a social flavor to Google maps and makes it more fun," said Steve Lee, a Google product manager.
Google is doing its best to avoid privacy concerns by requiring each user to manually turn on the tracking software and making it easy to turn off or limit access to the service.
Google also is promising not to retain any information about its users´ movements.
Only the last location picked up by the tracking service will be stored on Google´s computers, Lee said.
The software plots a user´s location - marked by a personal picture on Google´s map - by relying on mobile phone towers, global positioning systems or a Wi-Fi connection to deduce their location. The system can follow people´s travels in the United States and 26 other countries.
It´s left up to each user to decide who can monitor their location.
Google Latitude will work initially on Blackberries and devices running on Symbian software (Nokia) or Microsoft´s Windows Mobile.
It will also operate on some mobile phones running on Google´s Android software and eventually will work on Apple´s iPhone and iTouch.
To widen the software´s appeal, Google is offering a version that can be installed on personal computers as well.