Google Latitude is Just a Bad Idea

Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
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Google Latitude is Just a Bad Idea

google-latitude.jpgFor those of you not on the up and up with Google Latitude, it's a free application that works with Google Maps and basically allows mobile users with GPS to upload their exact location to friends, family, and anyone else they allow.

Google has recently released a new version of Google Maps that now supports GPS for BlackBerry which includes the Google Latitude application.  I decided to try it out with my Verizon BlackBerry Storm and after about 30 seconds of letting everyone know where I was, I freaked out and turned it back off.

I'm addicted to my BlackBerry now, but it took a lot for me to finally upgrade to a smartphone.  I like being accommodating but not instantly and entirely accessible.  Even with those feelings, I can currently be found with my BlackBerry Storm by calling, text, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook, and E-mail me at 4 different accounts.  I admit, it's a bit much, and I find myself living in this phone.

The times I don't want to be found... I ignore that flashing red LED.  But, with Google Latitude I won't have that luxury.  If I don't pick up, I could potentially find that persistent (and now forever creepy) person tapping me on the shoulder minutes later.  I've got enough common sense to not allow questionable people to have my GPS fix in the first place, but sometimes you don't realize who the creeps are until they do something pretty creepy.  What's that quote you always hear on the news from the old lady who lived next to the mass murderer?  Something like, "He was such a nice man. Very normal... I never expected this."

I know it's an opt-in application, but stalkers can emerge from nowhere and friendly situations can quickly change.  Significant others quickly become crazy exes, neighbors become mortal enemies overnight, friends betray friends, etc.  I can see someone not exactly as tech savvy as myself not being able to turn this off once activating, or forgetting they allowed access to someone currently not so happy with them.

Thanks but no thanks Google, I'll just be using the maps.


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