Nearly two years ago I downloaded the Loopt app for my old iPhone 3G, which enabled me to GPS tag my location and broadcast it via the Loopt app to other Loopt users or onto my Facebook page as a static map. There was just one problem–by the time anybody saw where I was, I was already somewhere else. Loopt could only use my GPS signal or broadcast my location when the program was running in the foreground, and the old iPhone only allowed you to use one program at a time. The new iPhone 4, however, allows apps to run in the background.
I decided to try my experiment again and downloaded the new Google Latitude app for iPhone. Since turning it on, I am now broadcasting my location (or at least the location of my phone) 24/7, to whoever cares enough about where I am to check in on me, and has been given permission by me to do so.
My first instinct was to link up with friends so I can crash their evenings out at the bars. However, the universal response I got from my friends in San Francisco when I suggested linking up with Google Latitude was, “that’s creepy dude.” I thought next about who else might want to be aware of my location at all times? I considered, then passed on signing up my girlfriend, mostly because I didn’t want her to think I didn’t trust her or wanted to monitor her movements (see how this gets sticky fast?).
I settled on my Mom. Though I’m a grown man, my Mom always likes me to call when I land after flying just to let her know I’m safe. I humor her, but over the years I’ve weaned her off the calls to texts, then Facebook updates, and more recently Facebook Places posts. SFO, check. It seemed logical that my mother would be enthusiastic about this technology, too. I explained over the phone what it was and how great it was that she can now aid in the rescue effort should I disappear on a camping trip in the mountains by giving the police my last known location. Her response: “that’s a little, um, weird.”
In the end, one friend who lives in New York and is also a media researcher signed up with me. Aside from the fact that we now can send each other creepy texts, Google Latitude has yet to change my life in any meaningful way.
I wonder if I’m the only person not visiting places I shouldn’t and am unusually unguarded about my privacy, or if I’m just way ahead of the coming curve of adoption. On the other hand, it could just be that people don’t want me crashing their nights out. I can’t say I blame them.
Where you at?