Posted May 27, 2010 7:31 am by with 1 comment

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I would suspect that you have had enough of talking about privacy and Facebook so we are going to take a look at other things that have gone on in the world. One of those ‘things’ is the announcement by Google that they are in Beta with the Google Latitude and Google Location History to provide a dashboard for users to see where they have been and generally keep track of just what the heck happened to them. The Google Mobile blog explains a bit here.

Today we’re launching an experimental new view in Beta for Google Location History to visualize your location history in a different — and hopefully more interesting – way more than just a string of locations.

If you’ve already chosen to enable Location History, the new dashboard view will try to highlight interesting trends from your existing location history, such as trips you’ve taken, places you’ve visited, time spent at home vs. out, and more. Ever wonder how much time you’ve spent at work recently compared to six months ago, or where it was that you stopped on your last road trip? Just check out Location History for some of the answers.

Of course, this is the kind of information that marketers would love to see (as soon as the word trends shows up in a product description marketers start giggling like little schoolgirls). Below are screenshots of the service showing a recent visit look followed by a history view.

Considering the maelstrom that Facebook has create around privacy you can figure that Google would be pretty specific about those concerns and they were.

We’re really excited to make Latitude and your location more useful to you, but we definitely understand that your privacy is important. Just as before, Google Location History is entirely opt-in only and your location history is available privately to you and nobody else. Additionally, you may be asked to periodically re-enter your password when opening any Location History page, even if you’re signed in to your Google Account already (just to make sure you’re really you). Of course, you may always delete any or all of your location history in the Manage History tab or disable Location History at any time.

Wow, I wonder if privacy people over at Facebook could read the above ‘policy’ and get an idea of what people really are looking for. Well, back to reality!

While the use to marketers is not clear and probably well off into the future it is an interesting step to take for Google with regard to a potentially useful utility. I for one can’t remember where I was a month ago but if this information was being kept for me then I would have a chance to remember some things.

Can’t wait to see when this service is first used to try to prove where someone was with regard to some legal matter. At that point we’ll see just how ‘private’ this data is and who can or cannot see it depending on their degree of pull.

So what do you think of this service?

  • Shirlee

    Ever since I was a kid, I imagined a map of the world with lines indicating where I had been – the color and width of the line changing and becoming more intense based on how often I’d been there. I’m personally looking forward to checking out Google Location History since there is probably just as much information out there that could be just as damaging. I try to live honestly and earnestly – If I’m proud of my actions, I’ve got nothing to hide.