back to article Google will tell your mates where you are

Google's Maps for Mobile just went social, with the launch of Latitude; a service that automatically shares your location with selected friends who might want to know where you are. Enrolling in Latitude is just a matter of downloading the latest Mobile Maps, or the desktop gadget for those the non-road-warrior just wants to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Didn't google just pull a service that did pretty much this?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    after a fashion. It got my location to within 2400 metres. Mind you I haven't got gps on my mobile.

  3. Emo
    Thumb Up


    I've been wanting to put my old N95 to good use, and now i can hide it in the car and track it if it's ever stolen :)


  4. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Down


    ...just creepy. Ugh. No.

  5. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    So what's in it for me

    I currently give Evil Google my search data by using their service. This allows me to find stuff on the web, with the quid pro quo that they have my searching behavious (sort of) and can make money targeting me with ads that I ignore.

    So what's in this for me? Most times I don't want to be found. If my mates want to get hold of me they call/text/email me. And vice-versa. Why do I want to give Google more revenue for geotargeting me with ads? There's no payback that I can see (but please enlighten me) so I'd want to be, at the very least, paid for this service. Not that I will use it as I value my privacy more every day.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .not storing the information, they anonamize it by replaces all " " in the info with "_".

  7. Doug Southworth
    Black Helicopters

    I'm pretty sure

    ...that Google is already tracking all of us. They're just being forthright about it now.

  8. Mike Crawshaw

    Google = the Enemy of the Husband

    No more will we be able to get away with "I'm working late" or "I'm looking after my sick aunt" or "I'm feeding my colleague's cat" when we're actually At The Pub (or something more naughty, if such is your habit).

    Thank Christ my OH is a technophobe who'd never be able to figure this out, or those "strategy meetings" at the pub would have to come to an end!

    BAD Google! BAD!

  9. fifi


    The Instamapper GPS tracker app for iPhone has been doing this for months already.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Share with mates & colleagues

    and wives, don't forget the wives.

    Oh $DEITY would I be so far in the brown and smelly that I'd need a diving helmet, no make that two.

    I can see that neither my mobile or crackberry is going to be able to run this spyware^W software.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Norfolk Enchants Paris

    There's nothing in it for you, except perhaps being able to find your friends on a crowded street on a night out- just hearing "we're off to xyz on abc street" doesn't always help...

    Or for parents, you could tag your kids' phones.

    As someone has already said, you could tag your car.

    If you've got a fleet of vehicles- based at land, sea or air- you could track them (so, for example, a company could track roughly where their vessels are).

    You could track your partner if you suspected them of cheating- just "whoops, I left my phone in your car. What did you do when you went to Cyndi's house?"

    You could even track hire cars or cars on test drives without any of the costly custom hardware this could normally entail.

  12. Liam Pennington


    Anyone want to play a guessing game with me?

    If we take the equation "F-P=x", estimate the value of "x"

    F = fans of this tracking service

    P = protestors against invasions of privacy or civil liberties

    It appears that, as with Facebook, Twitter, et. al, people quite enjoy the concept without thinking of the connections to, say, ID Cards or undercover policeman recording the queues outside nightclubs...

  13. Andrew Ducker

    How cool!

    A couple of my friends travel a lot, and we've now got it set up so that we can automatically tell which cities we're all in.

    I've also given access to my girlfriend - but I'm sure a bunch of you wouldn't be comfortable with that :->

  14. Joe K
    Thumb Down


    The excellent free years-old app Nokia SportsTracker does this for free anyway, if you turn on live updating. Watch people wander in realtime here:

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'm gonna....

    I'm gonna nick Gary's phone then get my missus to take it and visit John's wife. That'll be a laugh. John's an ex-marine and built like a brick shithouse. Gary's gonna cry like a baby. It'll serve him right for being a wimp and leaving the pub early!!!

  16. Dave
    Paris Hilton

    This will REALLY work....

    Given the current accuracy of in-phone GPS, this sounds like a crock of shite to me.

    So it's Friday night, you want to find out where the boys are for a shandy or 2, You use google to find out where they are, 5 minutes later and you can see they're somewhere on the high street within a very large circle and you have to phone or text one of them to find out exactly where they are.

    Then again, we have the paranoid-parent brigade who will probably buy into this in droves and it will be a raging success.

    Paris could use it when she finds her friend.

  17. Law

    Google = the Enemy of the Husband

    "Thank Christ my OH is a technophobe who'd never be able to figure this out, or those "strategy meetings" at the pub would have to come to an end!"

    Lucky bugger... my "OH" is too bloody technical, she's also a gamerchick, and while the gamerchick bit has benefits (Halo 3/GoW2 co-op is fun), she can take up the console alot of the time... but being the "OH" she refuses to spend money on a second tv and console.... :(

    I've got a feeling in the next day or two she's going to be throwing "ODFO" at me in texts... *waves fist at Sarah Bee*

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Your wife can't tell you've been strategizing at the pub? She consumes as much lager & tobacco as you do, or the poor woman just has no sense of smell?

  19. mark
    Thumb Down

    Quite Useful

    It's pretty useful for seeing which of your mates are in the area and thus who to phone for a beer - seems like a good idea. Except it's not available for any SE phone, and many Nokias. Fail.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Nokia FriendView

    It seems exactly the same service - and launched a few days earlier.

  21. andy
    Thumb Up

    @Mike Crawshaw

    @Mike Crawshaw -- You just screwed yourself...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What about...

    ...They've been doing this for YEARS. Yet another attempt by Google to enter the market years later and steal all the competition.

    Paris, because even she's quicker than Google.

  23. Andy Bright

    Can't see anything that could go wrong with this

    After all Google have an excellent record on privacy, especially when it comes to handing data over to foreign governments that really, really want it. I suspect the Chinese are doing handstands over this service right now.

    I wonder how many data centers they'll need to bring online and if this will be the final nail in the penguins collective coffin.

  24. Andy Bright

    Oh dear..

    Coincidence? I don't think so..

    One porn site too many? A dissident chat room unscrambled? One phone call to Google and the Chinese can instantly apply the letter of the law..

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Black Helicopter Parents?

    Dave writes:

    "Then again, we have the paranoid-parent brigade who will probably buy into this in droves and it will be a raging success."

    Agreed. Here in the US they;re called "Helicopter Parents". And this will just give them a new way to stress-out their kids.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Not Original

    Someone at my uni invented this about 3 years ago, I hope Google paid him.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    next step, everyone's location monitored regardless of the risk to the individual

    If the gov can't spy on us, they'll let us do it to each other long enough that we get so used to it that down the line there will be no arguments against the gov doing the same thing, even though they are notorious for not caring about the threats of such a system to individuals that might have "someone out to get them", as is often the case with some crazy Americans who have nothing better to do with their lives than ruin other people's lives. People are so oblivious to the ramifications that by the time the dangers are apparent it will be too late, as usual, such as something as innocent as distressing an emotionally unstable kid (which is the norm btw here in the great US of A, used to be just the other kids who would push other kids to the limit, but apparently adults are far more capable) and sending that kid down the road to suicide. With all the adolescent adults here this could be very dangerous for society.

    But what do I know? I'm sure it will mostly be used for fun (stalking can be fun for some people), and further justification for the high rates for service.

  29. Nathan
    Black Helicopters

    Nothing new

    My helio has had this feature built into google maps for 2 years... and whats with the people saying stuff about the "accuracy of modern phones" The combanation of GPS and cell site location can get pretty darn accurate. Most of the time I track myself it gets within about 5 meters of where I'm standing, of course that all depends on how many sattiltes your connected to or how strong your cell signal is.

  30. Charles Manning

    Privacy idiots

    What dumbfuckery from the privacy folk. This is an opt-in service. It only works when you want to broadcast your position to your mates.

    Don't want the wife to track you going to the shag's flat: turn it off!

    Don't want the boss to track you going to the pub: turn if off!

    Want your battery to last longer: turn it off!

    As for the concern that this feature could be turned on without your knowledge.... well guess what - the location information is just as available with or without this service.

    For a bunch of supposedly tech savvy people, you're showing an amazing amount of ignorance.

  31. Paul Leroux
    Gates Horns

    stalkers around the world rejoice

    stalkers around the world rejoice

  32. Dean Collins


    the only problem is doesnt seem to be able to embed in a widget....whats with that?

  33. Gary

    Shove It!

    If anyone wants to know where I am they can ask me when I get back! If I wish to, I may even tell them! And people ask me why I rarely carry a mobile! Ha!


  34. Dave Smilton

    Google following Vodafone's Pocket Life?

    I heard that Google released Latitude earlier than planned to counter Vodafone's launch of its location based social network Pocket Life in December. Any insights on that?

    Financial Times mentioned it but did not go into detail...

  35. Steve Roper
    Thumb Down

    Re: Privacy idiots

    To which the inevitable response to you turning the tracking off will be: "Why did you turn tracking off last night/lunchtime/whenever? What are you hiding?" If this is coming from your SO, well, your relationship's in trouble anyway from the mere lack of trust. But this coming from your BOSS means that unless you can justify turning it off, your career could be toast.

    The problem is that once this facility is generally and widely available, those who refuse to use it will come under a cloud of suspicion. At present there's a fairly lengthy process involved in tracking people and it's not something the general public, or even many companies, use or are aware of. But once Google get in on the act, everyone will know about it and want to use it. That's when those who don't (and/or outright refuse to) will suddenly find themselves on the outer when looking for jobs (or even SOs). That's not a future I would want to participate in.

    I'd like to see some two-way exchange of information with these sorts of monitoring / tracking schemes. For example, with this Latitude system - if I have tracking on, I'd want to be able to see at glance who is using the system to track me at any given time. Just as I like to know who's viewed my website (which at the moment is limited to an IP address), and if I had a Facebook or Myspace page I'd want to know the idents of any other users who had visited it. If we adopted this mentality across the board - the watched can watch the watchers - this whole idea of everyone being able to monitor each other would be a lot more palatable.

  36. Norfolk Enchants Paris


    Yeah, maybe but I don't want to do any of that shite. My car is already tracked by CCTV in this country!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1984 beckons

    EVIL google! You already have far too much power. World domination and complete surveillance steps closer. George Orwell got the date wrong. Why don't google just implant us all with chips so they know what we are thinking, or have they done that already? Posted anon but google will know who I am ;-)

    Paris, cause she knows all about things inserted in the body.

  38. Adrian Buzescu

    No carrier stores location

    There is a bit of stupidity here... no carrier is storing customers' location nor is tracking anybody. Not that this is very complicated but because it takes a big chunk of the spectrum and the carrier has no benefits for doing this. Plus, it is against the law and carriers are very careful with this issue.

  39. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: No carrier stores location

    In the EU all carriers store handset locations for a year, and are required by law to share that information with appropriate enforcement bodies: they have no wish to, but have no choice either.

    I wrote about it at some length last year...


  40. Mike Crawshaw

    Various Responses...

    @ Law: Poor bugger! You can't even blind her with science to justify the expense!

    @ AC: The trick is to officially have a 3-hour "strategy meeting", followed by an hour or two at the pub. So the odour of beer & fags is apparent and expected, without the accompanying cries of "You're always at the pub with your mates! You never take me anywhere! I have nothing to wear! I need more shoes!" (ok, so I still get them, but at least not as much).

    @ Andy: Like I said, she's a technophobe, and wouldn't be able to get to the comments section of this site.... =:-D

  41. Anonymous Coward

    @AC: "strategy meetings"

    Ah, but by the time you come back from the pub all rosey-cheeked and reeking of beer, you're too drunk to care -- that's the beauty of it.

    However, a gamut of Google-gotten global positioning information relayed to Her Indoors would, no doubt, induce an angry phone call demanding immediate de-ensconcement from said Aforementioned Establishment.

    Left with the choice to go now, or stay and face the music/sleep in the spare bedroom later -- well, I know what I'd do.

  42. Conrad Longmore
    Thumb Down

    I tried it

    I tried it.. it was crap. Because GPS is not the sort of thing that works well in a pocket, bag or building then it defaults to the local cellular base station. Even with GPS enabled and a full view of the satellites, it didn't reliably report back location data. The iGoogle plugin doesn't work on, and it kept crashing the browser if I used the .com version.

  43. n

    what a great valentines present.... give to every husband in the land.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Has noone noticed....

    There's a "set my location" option. So the conversation with the not so tech savvy SO goes something like this.

    SO: Are you down the pub?

    You (sets location to office then turns on latitude): of course not, just have a look on that map thinamajug i showed you, i'm in the office.

    Ditto for boss (set location to middle of train line, train delayed, or somewhere on M25)

  45. Greg

    Re: Privacy Idiots

    @Charles Manning:

    Before using the term "idiots" about other, one should use his brain a little bit first.

    Steve Roper said it quite clearly.

    Your "Don't want the wife to track you going to the shag's flat: turn it off!" is pretty stupid. There's even more chance that the wife sees what's going on if you turn it off than if you don't (if you do, she sees you disappear, that's strange, if you don't, she MAY notice you're in an odd place, but she may not).

    As said above, once started, you're fucked. And you don't even need to be the one starting it: if 95% of the population does it and you don't, when the wife asks you to do it and you refuse, you're pretty much busted (same for boss, or whatever: once it's the norm, you're even worse off refusing than giving up your privacy).

  46. Bill
    Thumb Up

    Well, since I'm not an extrovert...

    and really don't give a damn where my friends are - I don't want them knowing where I am either - this is of no real use to me. However, I can see young teenagers, clubbers, ravers, families and close friends just loving this service. Also, I can see a use for it in emergency situations.

    I like the fact that the service is "opt in" as opposed to always on.

    I suspect Google is making way from some location-based ad services with this technology.

    @Greg "And you don't even need to be the one starting it: if 95% of the population does it and you don't, when the wife asks you to do it and you refuse, you're pretty much busted."

    Nah, mate. I'm going to differ with you on this one. Any man that has a wife that demands tracking of her husband's location, at all times, either needs to get another wife or grow a set of balls. If my wife did that to me, I'd tell her to piss off, in a heartbeat. ;)

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