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The promise and threat of Google Latitude
Letting your friends know where you are at all times
G

oogle Latitude is either very, very cool, said Patrick Edaburn in The Moderate Voice, or very, very scary. The service, connected to mobile phones, allows users to keep track of friends and family. In theory, you can only pinpoint someone's location with his or her permission. But we all know how quickly hackers and security leaks can lead to abuse.

Thanks, but no thanks, Google, said JR Raphael in PC World. "Call me old-fashioned, but I don't want every aspect of my life to be public domain." Maybe I'm the uncool one in this "share-it-all," Web 2.0 world, but I want to be able to slip out for a cup of coffee without broadcasting the news.

Then, according to Google, Latitude still might be for you, said Jemima Kiss in Britain's The Guardian. Users can choose which of their contacts can see where they are. It's even possible to set different privacy levels for different people. And for slipping out for coffee on the sly, just use the "hide" setting, or enter a false location.

Yes, but if we’ve learned anything from the dizzying rise of social-networking, said Vinay Menon in the Toronto Star, it’s that “opt-in” is just another term for peer pressure. “If most of your friends adopt Latitude, it's only a matter of time before you cave and become a walking GPS blip atop the great radar screen of life.”

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