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  #1  
Old 02-04-2009, 10:05 AM
Darius Wey
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Default Google Adds Latitude to Google Maps for Mobile

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/02/locate-your-friends-in-real-time-with.html' target='_blank'>http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/20...-time-with.html</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"Way back in November 2007, we location-enabled all of our Google Maps for mobile clients to bring location awareness to the masses and improve the local search experience. Using My Location, millions of you have been able to easily find yourselves on a map at the touch of a button. But what about finding other people? Lots of you have been requesting to see where your friends are on a map, too. Well now you can with Google Latitude. Latitude is a new feature of Google Maps for mobile, as well as an iGoogle gadget, that allows you to share your location with your friends and to see their approximate locations, if they choose to share them with you. You can use your Google account to sign in and easily invite friends to Latitude from your existing list of contacts or by entering their email addresses. Google Talk is integrated with Latitude, so you and your friends can update your status messages and profile photos on the go and see what everyone is up to. You can also call, SMS, IM, or email each other within the app."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1233737682.usr2.gif" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>Unlike previous Google Maps for mobile innovations, Google is making the new Latitude feature available to Windows Mobile users from day one. To start <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">spying on</span> connecting with your friends, fire up your mobile browser and grab the app from <a href="http://www.google.com/latitude" target="_blank">google.com/latitude</a>. It's 100% opt-in, and you can choose just how much or how little information you want to share, and with whom.</p>
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2009, 07:33 PM
kerrins
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It's a little disappointing that this works only for those with a data plan. Since Google Maps uses cell towers to locate someone, it would be nice if a non-data phone could be used. Specifically my children. I would like for their locations to be identified via a cell tower triangulation and then I could either go to my web enabled phone or a regular PC and locate them through the web interface. I completely agree that the installation of the application would need to be direct onto their phone so that I couldn't pick phone numbers at random and spy on them, but I would like to be able to keep track of my kids.
 
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:01 PM
JesterMania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerrins View Post
It's a little disappointing that this works only for those with a data plan. Since Google Maps uses cell towers to locate someone, it would be nice if a non-data phone could be used. Specifically my children. I would like for their locations to be identified via a cell tower triangulation and then I could either go to my web enabled phone or a regular PC and locate them through the web interface. I completely agree that the installation of the application would need to be direct onto their phone so that I couldn't pick phone numbers at random and spy on them, but I would like to be able to keep track of my kids.
Something like that wouldn't really work at the moment as you would still need a way to upload the GPS coordinates from your kids' phones somewhere to make it available for you to see. Unfortunately at this time, costly data is the only option...
 
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:55 AM
Sven Johannsen
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Originally Posted by JesterMania View Post
Something like that wouldn't really work at the moment as you would still need a way to upload the GPS coordinates from your kids' phones somewhere to make it available for you to see. Unfortunately at this time, costly data is the only option...
Could be done via SMS. For some odd reason SMS isn't data, as evidenced by it being paid for independently. Could concievably have the phone relay a position every so often to a phone number which could parse the info and plot it. I think something of this sort already exists. I recall some app where you could send your location to a friend's phone and it would plot your position on a map to help get some visual reference.
 
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:24 AM
doogald
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerrins View Post
It's a little disappointing that this works only for those with a data plan. Since Google Maps uses cell towers to locate someone, it would be nice if a non-data phone could be used. Specifically my children. I would like for their locations to be identified via a cell tower triangulation and then I could either go to my web enabled phone or a regular PC and locate them through the web interface. I completely agree that the installation of the application would need to be direct onto their phone so that I couldn't pick phone numbers at random and spy on them, but I would like to be able to keep track of my kids.
Well, Verizon has that for many of their non-smartphones here in the US, no data plan required. It's a pay-for service, though. http://products.vzw.com/index.aspx?i...ps_childFinder
 
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:32 PM
JKingGrim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerrins View Post
It's a little disappointing that this works only for those with a data plan. Since Google Maps uses cell towers to locate someone, it would be nice if a non-data phone could be used. Specifically my children. I would like for their locations to be identified via a cell tower triangulation and then I could either go to my web enabled phone or a regular PC and locate them through the web interface. I completely agree that the installation of the application would need to be direct onto their phone so that I couldn't pick phone numbers at random and spy on them, but I would like to be able to keep track of my kids.
Google does not triangulate with cell towers. That would require cooperation from the carrier. Google just looks up the location of the tower you are currently using. It cant be done without a data plan.
 
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:04 AM
Pony99CA
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Default Cell Towers

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Originally Posted by JKingGrim View Post
Google does not triangulate with cell towers. That would require cooperation from the carrier. Google just looks up the location of the tower you are currently using. It cant be done without a data plan.
Of course it could, unless getting the ID of the cell phone tower itself requires data usage. You could put the cell tower locations in a database (which could be updated, of course) just like GPS vendors have done with map data for years.

However, given that Google Maps keeps its maps on a server (and therefore requires data usage to get the maps), it makes sense that Latitude also stores the cell tower database on a server.

Steve
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Old 02-06-2009, 10:43 PM
j2inet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKingGrim View Post
Google does not triangulate with cell towers. That would require cooperation from the carrier. Google just looks up the location of the tower you are currently using. It cant be done without a data plan.
It's possible to keep a local database of cell tower IDs and their locations but such a solution has its own set of technical considerations. Should you try to provide an experience with the most coverage by storing a fairly complete database of the cell towers and their location or should you only store the information that is most local to the user? In either case there's maintanance considerations with getting the user to update their local data from time to time either because of new towers coming into existence or because the user has wondered outside the area that is covered by their local database. (Note: OpenCellID.org provides an open source solution for location based on CellID).

And location data is pretty useless without maps. In prototyping a Windows Mobile program to track people I made a system that used SMS to share location but I still needed a data connection to get the maps. Also with this program since it used SMS to communication location to different mobile devices unless every one had unlimited SMS the cost of using the program could become expensive relativly quickly.

Bottom line is a program of this nature needs to be implemented using data to provide an acceptable user experience.
 
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2009, 12:51 AM
Pony99CA
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Default Non-Online Location

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Originally Posted by j2inet View Post
Bottom line is a program of this nature needs to be implemented using data to provide an acceptable user experience.
I disagree. GPS vendors have long bundled maps and POIs into a database. Most GPS programs that I've used can put the entire U.S., with POIs, into 1-2 GB. As cell towers are just another type of POI, you could probably add them for a small incremental cost in memory.

Updates are an issue, but GPS vendors solve that by creating new databases every 6-12 months. The online solution has the benefit of always getting the most up-to-date maps and POIs at the cost of requiring data access to get maps.

However, I see no reason why a vendor couldn't run locally and build an update routine into their program that grabs incremental data updates when the user has connectivity. If the user doesn't have a data plan, he could still get updates over WiFi or while connected to a PC (Windows Mobile's Internet pass-through).

The one place where you definitely need data exchange is updating the people's locations, but, as you said, that can be done via SMS -- and unlimited SMS plans tend to be cheaper than unlimited data plans.

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