I’m travelling for a couple of weeks, so haven’t been as active on the blog as I ought to have been. However, the new Blackberry was working overtime last week when Google announced Latitude, the friend-finding capability within Google maps. Thanks to all of my friends who called, e-mailed, or texted me to let me know…….there were a lot of you!
Now, to be clear, I’m a fan of Google’s mobile initiatives. Google Maps works great on a GPS-equipped device (I’ve used it on both Nokia N95′s and now the 9000 Bold), and in December 2007 when they launched their cellID capability I personally believed it signified a “sunrise” moment in our industry, as folks began to realise that well, approximate locations were useful things.
(A quick note of historical value: Locatrix piloted handset-based cellID applications using active cell transfers on the onboard GSM radio to signal movement in 2004, in a pilot with Vodafone Australia, hence the “catch-up” title).
However, as a friend finder, Latitude has some limitations: the other side has to have Google Maps, you can’t get real-time locations from friends unless they are also using Google Maps, and the implemented privacy restrictions are, well, minor. Not to mention that (and yes, I get the “Do no evil” mantra) all this data about location is ending up somewhere, somehow for an advertising play….
As a company, Locatrix focuses on solutions that let our operator partners safely expose location to their subscribers, and we were pleased that Telstra took the initiative to make some public comments around Latitude, and the importance of consumer education and control – features we provide in Whereis® Everyone (our solution, Telstra’s brand).
You can listen to Telstra’s Mario Davoli on Google Latitude and Whereis Everyone on the Nowwearetalking.com.au blog site.