Thursday, February 5, 2009

Google Orwell

I ran across the following today and thought this blog is as good a place as any to post it: Google now has an application to let your friends see where you are. This gives me shivers. Who would want this? I am not remotely interested in having my location passively available. Yes, I understand that if it counted, I could be tracked by my cell phone anyway - but that's different than intentionally making yourself more easily trackable. If I want someone to know where I am, I tell them ahead of time or I call them. If Google wants to develop this technology, that's up to them, but I find it odd that people are subjecting themselves to this kind of tracking voluntarily.


Brett said...

Not much different than posting your entire life of facebook, or myspace. Our privacy is both expanding and contracting at a rapid pace. Personal privacy is almost non-existent in the physical world; yet we lock ourselves in our houses and communicate with those we barely know over the internet from the safety of our private rooms. It truly is a bizarre paradox. I will not be using or downloading this application, although props to Google for making it possible for those that want to share. Google truly is a leader and pioneer in new and exciting products.

Thomas Paine Jr. said...

The difference in this case is how relevant the information you're letting others find is to your physical person. I put up a video and fine, now strangers know that I live in California and like to go running. It's a whole different story if they know I'm on 25th Avenue headed into Golden Gate Park *right now*. That said, I've run marathons with timer chips so people could see what time I reached certain points on the course, but that was a very few times, at specific points, in a situation where I knew I had to be measured in order to participate. Google is certainly free to design these apps, and there are many folks who like to jump on Google for privacy issues, but normally I'm not one of them. But I can't pretend I don't find this one creepy, or that I'm not puzzled by people that would do this to themselves voluntarily for their personal time.

Thomas Paine Jr. said...

I have to say, your closing "new and exciting products" line is a little propagandish. Google's marketing group should hire people with smoother edges.