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5/4/2009
07:39 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google Widens Latitude

In what might be mistaken as an effort to ensure the continued employment of privacy advocates, Google on Monday expanded the ways its Latitude location data can be used.

In what might be mistaken as an effort to ensure the continued employment of privacy advocates, Google on Monday expanded the ways its Latitude location data can be used.Google Talk users can now share their Latitude location though a status message displayed to their Google Talk or Gmail chat contacts.

And the company also introduced the Google Public Location Badge, for displaying one's location on a blog or other Web page.

Latitude users can reveal the city they're in or they can be more specific. If you have a stalker or aspire to that sort of notoriety, think twice before broadcasting you location.

"Please be aware that by enabling this badge your location will be available for everyone to see; you cannot decide who gets to see it," cautions Google engineer Chris Lambert in a blog post. "If you want to have more privacy, you can select 'city-level location' or choose to 'disable' the badge altogether."

It's interesting technology but I have to say I'm puzzled as to its utility beyond assisting with ad targeting. I just can't see using it to locate a friend or to let a friend know where I am. Text messages work just as well, with more precision and with fewer privacy implications.

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