Monday, February 16, 2009

Latitude Launch

New from Google Maps-- from the team that brought you StreetView comes CreepsView! Now you can see where your friends (and enemies) are at all times of the day and night.

This was my failed name/tagline for Latitude-- the newest feature on Google Maps for Mobile which allows you to share your location with your friends. I have been dogfooding this feature for a couple months now, and while I think its pretty fun for the sake of voyeurism and because I'm a digital perv, there are a lot of improvements that it needs before I think it can be truly game changing.

Right now, when someone sends you a request to "share her location" with you, you have only 2 options: you can share back, allowing them to see where you are, or not. You can always log in on your phone and hide your location, but common when you actually want to hide your location, who's gonna remember to do that? Specifically I would like a sweet preferences interface where I can see all contacts, group them into different categories and set access preferences for each. For example, I'd like to share my location with parents until 10pm, friends after 10pm, noone after 2am...Or even be able to tell it to hide my location if I enter a specific geographic location. Latitude 2.0 will be attached to a blood alchol level calculator which will hide my location after a certain number of drinks. Or show it...

Additionally I'd like better alerts and integration with the rest of my phone. Right now, I have to go to the latitude interface on my phone in order to see my friends...This is the kind of thing that I only do when bored in cabs, meetings or trains, not necessarily when I'm out with friends (which is exactly when I would like to know where other friends are). So ideally I'd like to have latitude working in the background of my phone at all times and send me texts or buzz when certain friends are within a certain distance, or when a certain number of friends are together.

When I told my dad about this feature and asked whether he wanted to add me, his response was "Um, I'm not sure I want to know where you are." Shocking from a dad that used to tell me that I couldnt get my braces off in high school cause he had installed a GPS locator...crazy that what seemed like a joke 8 years ago is now reality.

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