Google announced on Wednesday that it will soon add real-time location sharing to Google Maps. The feature set appears to be very reminiscent of Google Latitude, which was introduced (way back) in 2009. Location sharing will undoubtedly be a popular option for many, but, it may come with OPSEC considerations for others.
Here’s what I wrote about Latitude, on February 5, 2009.
A new mobile phone application, Google Latitude, was introduced yesterday. It’s an interesting new addition to Google Maps.
According to Google, with Latitude you can:
- See where your friends are and what they are up to
- Quickly contact them with SMS, IM, or a phone call
- Maintain complete control over your privacy
Err… Complete control? True, only the friends that you add/allow are able to follow your movements and Latitude does have a manual override function. But complete control? Perhaps it would be more accurate to claim that there are strong controls.
Assuming that you remember to use those controls of course.
If you want to maintain complete control over your privacy, you probably won’t be installing Latitude.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to share some of your personal details, Latitude could prove itself to be a really useful feature.
Updated to add: Reader Daniel S. posted a comment, Google has modified their text to:
- Control what your location is and who gets to see it
While Latitude was very popular within a niche, it never achieved mass success and was discontinued in 2013. Google Maps on the other hand is practically everywhere, so, “Latitude” is about to be reborn in a big way.
The new sharing features appear to have solid controls; it’s opt-in, has time limitations, et cetera. But still, if you’re concerned about leaking your location, be sure to review the settings when you receive the update.