Most of us are familiar with google’s searching capabilities. We use Google to find any and everything we want on the web. For some, google is their go-to search engine. With a simple interface, a googolplex of peripheral services, and integration into most web browsers toolbar – it’s easy to see why Google is dominating over competitors like Yahoo! and AOL.
With the introduction of GPS tracking in cell phones, PDA’s etc. a few years ago – which is used for many reasons – came the capability to pinpoint your location at all times. And yes – this can happen even when your phone is turned off. Google Latitude capitalizes on this feature and can show your location and people whom you allow. The location is shown by dots on a map. You can “check in” various places and unlock offers from either your computer, cell phone, or both!
This can be cool if you’re visiting a new city with friends or family, and you’re trying to keep track of each other. Or, for parents who want to track their kids/tweens/teens who are away from home (assuming they keep their cell phone with them) etc.
This can be creepy if someone gets access to this information and tracks where you are without your knowledge. Google has done a decent job of safeguarding against this. They often prompt you to re-enter your password even when you’re already signed in. This mechanism may happen frequently with services like latitude that deal with personal information.
Safety Note: Google allows you to publish your location on your google talk status (if you use gmail) or on your website or blog. Be mindful that this information is fodder for pretty much anyone to see. As always, NEXT for Women encourages you to be safe when sharing your information, private or otherwise!
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