On Wednesday, Google introduced a new mapping feature called Latitude. This works with Google Maps to allow smartphone and laptop users to share their current location. So if your friend wants to broadcast their location, you can check to see where they are. Like Facebook or MySpace, you decide who to share this information with and it will not store past movements, only your current position.
In case you are concerned with privacy, Google has a good YouTube video showing how Latitude will offer you protection:
So how does this work? In this story from PC World, they detail some of the technology involved. They also walk through a couple of different examples and offer a few screen shots to illustrate the process.
This technology is not new, I wrote about this last year in my post, GPS – Where Are you?. Many cell phones now have built in GPS capability with location-based service that is available from cell phone networks. So Google is not the first to do this, they are just releasing it on a much bigger scale.
I definitely understand the privacy concerns, but I am very excited about the potential of this service. Now you could allow family and friends to track your location while accepting a ride. Would this help ease some of our fears about ride sharing?