The Grumpy Troll

Ramblings of a grumpy troll.

Latitude

Everyone has different boundaries when it comes to sharing and privacy.  Some services are great for those that use them, but horrifying for those that don't.  Google Latitude is one of those.  It normally falls outside my comfort zone.  It's not even something you might normally have on, but turn off when you want privacy, as the act of turning it off draws attention to the time-period when it was turned off.

But I'm about to be crossing the USA, driving 2940 miles in four days, through some fairly desolate areas.  People who know me already know where I'm going to be, so letting them actually track it is not such an invasion of my privacy.  Having the service normally turned off, but occasionally turned on when I explicitly am comfortable being tracked, that's something I'm much more comfortable with.

Alas, I can't find a way of sharing my location to all my contacts, without them having to make it a reciprocal relationship.  I can share with a few people and they can turn off the advertising of their location, so that's more work for them, to preserve the status quo, which it's unreasonable and impolite to ask them to do.  I did so anyway, for a very small group of people.

Moreover, I can't find a way to access location on the Google Maps website, only on the phone.  So only people with a phone with a Maps client on it can track my location.  That's a very select group, which amongst my acquaintances restricts it to just those people who, equally, don't want Latitude enabled.

This would be a much better product, for my use-case, if I could publish my location to be available to anyone in certain of my contacts groups ("My Contacts", or "Friends"+"Family"+"co-workers") whenever they're signed into Google and using Google Maps, whether it's the web UI or mobile or whatever, and without their needing to have Google Latitude enabled themselves.  Oh, I see that I can add an iGoogle widget, but that's a permanent change which people need to enable, and they need to actually use iGoogle.  Where is the Latitude Overlay for Google Maps or Google Earth?

*sigh*  I am not in the target audience, it seems.

Comments

Phil P
Not really. I'm happy to share it with a circle of people (family, friends, etc) but not to post for all the world. But thanks, that's at least part-way there.
Anonymous
If you're willing to make your location public for a limited time, you can use Google Public Location Badge: http://www.google.com/latitude/apps/badge

You can then embed some html in your blog that will show your location to all visitors.
Phil P
(Oh, and the iGoogle gadget also reports location, it's not view-only)
Phil P
(Oh, and I know that having connectivity for Latitude to report location in the desolate areas will be Interesting, but it should at least be able to give a Last Known Location)
Categories: trust brokenness balance google latitude google privacy relocation google maps