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Attitudes 'bout Latitude

Attitudes ’bout Latitude

Well. Google’s Latitude – as predicted – definitely got some notice. Apart from Scoble’s original FriendFeed discussion, lots of folks on the Interwebs, social, local and mobile had something to say about Google’s entry into the field. Here’s the roundup.

PC World thinks you can use it to track workers, a la that Sprint “What if delivery people ran the world commercial.”

On the other hand, Vinay Menon in the Toronto Star wants Google to back off. Privacy International, according to Computerworld, thinks Latitude is a “danger” to security, while Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land thinks Privacy International needs to give Google more, ahem, latitude (Sorry. His joke, not mine).

What do you think? Has Google gone too far? Or is all the hype overblown? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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  1. Tim, I think Greg has it right and the privacy concerns are way overblown. Of course Google could always add more safeguards, checks, or require constant validation that you want to use the service. But that’s like saying my bank’s website could always add another password requirement, iris scan, facial recognition, thumbprint, voice test or hip hop dance routine to make me log in. At some point we all sacrifice a small risk of privacy invasion or security breech for a big usability and convenience benefit.

  2. Hi Jake,
    I’m going to be self-referential and reuse my comment on FriendFeed, in which I agree with your point: “Scoble’s comments about Latitude’s privacy controls are valid.Facebook, Google and the like are not the big threats to privacy. Mobile phone carriers, credit card companies and local governments are. The data trail we leave unconsciously (i.e., credit card purchases, phone calls, security camera images) are far more troubling than those we leave consciously on social networks. Social networks allow you to limit whether your friends can see your location. Of course, as true privacy advocates will tell you, your friends aren’t the ones you should worry about.”

    If Google added further privacy controls, that’s a Good Thing. But, is it Latitude’s most pressing problem? I don’t think so.

    Still, a biometric hip-hop dance scanner would be bad ass. 😉

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