Google Latitude’s #1 Problem Can’t Be Fixed

You can’t fix trust. Not with a click of a button.

Have a read of this:

1 in 3 Australians will snoop in the phones of their partners (according to a Virgin Mobile survey).

60% of them do it when their partner is in the shower. 41% do it with their partner in view.

(quote from Tomi Ahonen’s presentation at Future of Mobile 2008.)

Principally I suspect the ‘snooping’ is looking at text messages and recent call lists.

Now if it’s that bad without sticking ‘location’ into the mix, how is it going to be when the masses take a look at Google Latitude?

How many relationships — business and personal — are about to get absolutely nailed by the fact that your friends and partners can *SEE* where you are. Or where you were?

Witness the following frequently used explanations that I often overhear:

Chap: I’m still in the office
Google Latitude: He’s over the other side of London. With friends Graham, Paul. And, er — if you check out that Kate girl’s blog, you’ll see her Latitude puts her within 100m of him.

Chap: I’m just at the shops buying you something in that underwear shop!
Google Latitude: He’s at PC World, about a mile away from any shops that might sell underwear.

Chap: (Text message) I’m just getting on the train.
Google Latitude: He hasn’t left the office.

Chap: NO? I’m not out with the guys. I’m just getting a sandwich then I’m on my way home.
Google Latitude: Before he switched me off, he was sitting next to ‘the guys’. And that bitch girl Kate was heading this year. That was an hour ago. That’s all I know, right?

Chap: Sorry boss, I’m stuck in the snow and I won’t be able to get into work.
Google Latitude: Rubbish! He’s at the leisure park near work — next to the cinema!

Teenager: I’m, er, just going to the shops to get a can of Coke. Back in 20.
Google Latitude: He’s round that Vicky-girl’s house again.

Teenager: Yeah I’m at school. So what, mum?
Google Latitude: He’s not in school. He’s not in the same town actually. Ask him how he got to the next town?

And so on.

Despite the fact that Latitude has bucketloads of privacy goodness, the use of this technology is going to take quite a while to get a hang of…

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