Recently I’ve been experimenting with Google Latitude: I wanted to see if I could use it to replace the “family locator” function that most mobile carriers offer at a premium price. This would require that your child or elderly parent or whoever’s whereabouts you care about carries the phone in their pocket with the display off, while it continues to send its location to you. No can do. Partly due to Latitude, partly due to the mobile carrier. The problem with Latitude, at least on Android 2.1 is that as soon as the phone goes to sleep, your GPS shuts off – I understand it as default to save battery life, but Latitude should offer the option to continue using GPS, if I so chose. Without GPS Latitude still continues transmitting location info – especially after most recent update – but the problem is that without GPS location data can be wildly invalid. In the area I live Verizon’s mobile network based location data is extremely accurate, while Sprint’s keeps on jumping around in a 5-7 mile radius which is completely unacceptable. So the Grand Experiment failed. However I was pleasantly surprised when I received the following email a few days later:
To protect your privacy we would like you to know that Google Latitude is running on your Android-powered device and reporting your location.
If you didn’t enable this or want to stop reporting your location, please open ‘Maps’ > ‘Latitude’ > ‘Privacy’ and change your privacy settings or sign out of Latitude.
Google Latitude Team
Wow, that’s pretty nice in today’s age of privacy violations left and right –
thank you Google.
- Google Latitude is fallible (ask.metafilter.com)
- Experimental Real-Time Location Tracking Comes To Google Latitude On Android (techcrunch.com)
- An easier way to use Google Latitude on your computer (google-latlong.blogspot.com)
- Google Maps For Android Gets Search Filters, Real-Time Latitude and More (googletutor.com)