Google Latitude and Your Blog

latitude2Google just launched the Google Public Location Badge which allows you to put a Google Map on your blog (or any website) that highlights where you are at any given time. Well, to be more precise it announces where your phone is.  So on those days when you forget to bring the phone with you – obviously the data is a bit less accurate.  Technology aside, the bigger question is “Why would you need your location to be broadcast to the world on your blog?”

What is Google Latitude – How does this work?
Google Latitude is a free application that brings location tracking to your cell phone even without GPS.  If you are traveling with a cell phone that has Google Latitude installed, your family members and friends can track your exact location on Google Maps through any Internet connected computer.  You have to install the software on your cell phone with support currently limited to Android phones, most BlackBerry phones, most Windows Mobile 5.0+ and most Symbian S60 devices.  For most uses, you should only allow close friends and family to be part of your Google Latitude network.

The blog badge takes this a step further because, as Google notes, “If enabled, your location will be publicly available to everyone. You will not be able to limit where and with whom you share your location through the badge.”  The setup is very easy, Google generates the code for you and you just insert it into your blog.

FYI – The image below is not a live feed of my location – just a screen capture.  You can control the display as a street map, hyrbid map (shown below) or satellite image.  Also you can limit the display to show city-level only or show the best data available which can get down to specific streets.

Why would you need your location to be broadcast to the world on your blog?
If you are concerned privacy then this is clearly not the application for you (my phone number and address are in the directory and there are not that many David Silversmiths so the map is not giving away anything new about me).  But even if you are not worried about privacy you should ask yourself “Will this add value to my business and/or my blog.”  This question is really not specific to the Google Public Location Badge, you should ask this about any new technology you are considering for your blog.  Let’s consider some examples:

  • You have a blog where you write about technology and new web services.  Including this on your blog, maybe just for awhile, could highlight your stature as being on the bleeding edge of technology.
  • You have a consulting business and you frequently are on the road and your voice mail or your out-of-office message already says “Sorry you’ve reached my voice mail but today I am in London on business.”  In this case you are not really giving out an confidential data and you are highlighting to web visitors how your successful business takes you all over.
  • You have a law practice or a medical practice (my doctor has a great blog).  In this case you might be making confidential visits and it might be very bad practice indeed to broadcast your location.

With three examples I probably did not hit your industry, but hopefully you get some ideas about the need to make sure that the technology on your blog matches the existing nature of your business and blog.

Slightly off track, I’m waiting for the first person to be arrested because the police are able to track them down through Google Latitude – “Oh, I forgot I had that feature enabled on my phone.”  Maybe that’s not blog related, but I suspect the story will posted on many a blog!


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One Response

  1. Steve Ollis May 5, 2009