The location sharing bubble might have started back in ye olde Loopt days but now everyone is on the bandwagon: Yahoo! with Fire Eagle (Fire Bagel as once internally called by Y! employees), Google with their recently announced Latitude, BrightKite, Whrrl, Groovr, Moximity and bundles of others. Alongside all of these products, there are developer-oriented tools like Mozilla Geode that help developers find their users' locations (once asked) from their computer and do whatever with it. However, this all begs the question why?
First off, I'm not opposed to location sharing. It's not even that crazy an idea when put in the perspective of Twitter and its whole "what are you doing" prompt. I'm just playing a little bit of devil's advocate right now. Privacy is the central issue with any information sharing service and each offering has their own way of making location sharing "safe." Still, would you use location sharing?
From a technical perspective, I think location sharing is pretty neat. Apps/services like Google Latitude can grab location data from either GPS, WPS (Skyhook-like; mentioned here), or via cell towers. The issue is that only a few of my wired friends would even consider using it, so what's the point of knowing the location of only 3 of my friends? Granted many said the same thing about Twitter but now even non-techies love it. In an ideal world, I think a near perfect implementation of location sharing services would notify friends (perhaps via SMS) of their direct proximity to each other, such as if they happen to be shopping at the same mall et cetera, without having to load an app or check a website.
But I digress, the point of this post is to find out what the consensus is for location sharing services. I posed this question on Twitter and received a few interesting responses:
All of that being said, I don't have a problem making my location public 24/7 and even considered building a small PC with GPS and 3G to put in my car when I'm out and constantly update my location on a live Google Map embedded on my blog (as done by some startup founder in San Francisco whose name currently escapes me). I'm aware that most people definitely don't have this same stance, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts.