The introduction of Google’s free cell phone tracker app has to be one of the coolest innovations to come along in the cellphone world in a long time. In my opinion, it’s a very close second to actually being able to make a call with your cell phone. If you’re not familiar with this service let me take a minute and describe it for you.
This free cell phone tracking application is basically a huge social networking service that makes use of the GPS receiver chips in today’s smart phones to help friends locate each other on a Google map that is displayed on their cellphone. Google knew that there would be many concerns about an individual’s privacy with the introduction of this service. Since they anticipated these concerns, the engineers at Google built in some very easy to configure privacy settings for the application.
Let’s take a minute and discuss these privacy settings and how they can pertain to you. To set the privacy settings you simply click on any of the friends in your Google Latitude friends list. From there you will be given several options. One option is to call them. One option is to send them a text message. One option is to send them an e-mail. One option is to have Google Latitude give you directions from where you are currently to where your friend is currently.
Now for the privacy settings. The first privacy setting is “hide from friend”. If you select this option, you will be able to track your friend put your friend will not be able to track you. That is, of course if they have not selected this option for you already and are hiding from you.
The next privacy setting is called “share only city level info”. This is the perfect setting for your business associates. Let’s say that you travel for business a lot and you have some clients who are in your Google Latitude friends list.
With this option set, your clients will see you on their map when you’re in town. This will let them know that you are in town and they can schedule an appointment with you. It doesn’t give them specific information about exactly where you are. This might be handy if you are in a meeting with one of their competitors. You wouldn’t want the client to know that you are doing business with their competitor for fear of losing their business.
The next privacy setting is “remove”. If you choose this setting, the person will be removed from your friends list and you will no longer be able to track them and they will no longer be able to track you.
There is another setting that you can choose called “hide your location”. If you choose this option no one on your friends list will be able to locate you with the service. Let’s face it, this is a cool technology and it will be nice being able to track your friends and family but there are times when you just want to be left alone and you don’t want anyone to know where you are. Choose this setting and your location won’t show up on their cell phones.
One thing to be careful of is to make sure that if you make privacy setting changes to individual friends or all of your friends for the afternoon or for the weekend, be sure and change the settings back to normal or they won’t be able to track you when you want them to.
If another thing to be aware of is that if you are using the service to track your children is that they can set the privacy settings to hide from you. It’s probably a pretty good idea to let them know that if they do this they will lose their cellphone privileges. After all, what good is a cell phone locator if your children simply disable it.