Now it’s all about where you are and maybe what you’re doing i.e. contextual location
People are already used to giving up their location and what they’re doing, that information is valuableIt’s freely available in twitter or facebook status updates, a lot of which is accessible by 3rd parties and can be used with the right data mining tools
Then of course there’s all the services where people deliberately check-in (some being more successful than others)Check-ins also allow advertisers to offer deals specific to that place and around you.
3rd party sites may have access to data that you think is private i.e. Scoville accesses your private check-ins and makes them public(obviously you have to authorise these services to access that data)
Of course a lot of people will give their location data away anyway as you can now geo-tag tweets, facebook updates etc.Though Facebook isn’t delivering services based on Places, they can deliver targeted advertising based on your location and your profile info
Location privacy is important, but as long as you get something back people are willing to give it awayIf you have a phone and it’s on, someone knows where you are (the mobile network as a minimum)
If you dial them from a landline, they get the landline address (or business registered address)If you’re on a VoIP line, they get the billing address (unless customer has specifically registered the address of the phone)If you’re on a mobile they get your location and are tracked as you move
Some service are trying to address location privacy issues, you have to specifically accept a location request from a friend (and can chat).No sign-in required, uses contacts from your address book and available on multiple platformsCan be disruptive as it’s a sort of replacement to SMS
Google has introduced location-targeted News Near You where Google analyse the news articles and look for relevant location dataYour news feed becomes related to events near you and Google can deliver adds based on what you’re reading and how it relates to you and your location
You may think Color is a picture sharing service, well the current client isHowever the backend technology is all about location and not just geo-tagging with GPS/Cell-IDThey measure the ambient light and noise etc and can locate different users in groups (say at a party) and when pictures are uploaded – they’re automatically grouped togetherIf you’re in a tower block, GPS/Cell-ID tells your device you’re in the block, Color technology tells you in which appartment and who you’re with
The recent news about Apple sending location data and using it to pull local WiFi location, but never deleting the info. At least the data was anonymised.
Google have always collated lots of data about the user (including location data) and it’s all tied back to your Google IDThe only data they don’t collect is phone logs – as they don’t want to be regulated under any telecoms regulations
When Google went around with the streetview mapping cars, they pulled in lots of information, GPS, cell tower info with Cell-IDs and signal strength and WiFi data.Unfortunately they used some engineering software, which didn’t just capture the WiFi beacon IDs (SSID and signal strength) but captured a whole load of data within the radio packetstoo (WiFi is really Ethernet mapped on to radio) so they captured actual customer data too, which they could analyse (if they wanted to) but capturing the data breaksmany countries interception laws (including the UK’s).
Carriers also want to own the customer using custom skins/etc on devices – usually with some form of login
Device manufacturers also want less involvement from Google and are implementing their own skins, they’re also demanding that more and more of Android is made available without the Google login requirements
Amazon have introduced their new tablet ‘Fire’, they’ve forked Android, so there’s no Google in there, no Google apps, no Google app store, no Google loginOf course there’s Amazon’s app store and you need an Amazon loginThen there’s their SILK browser, it’s a combination of a lightweight browser and an engine in the cloud (EC2) and again they’re monitoring what you’re looking at
Google didn’t just buy Motorola for their patents, more and more licensees want less and less tied to Google.Buying Motorola allows them to offer a vanilla version of Android, all is tied to your Google ID
New handsets will have near field communications (NFC) i.e. RFID for wallet type transactionsAlready incorporated into Blackberry, Google Nexus S and others, allegedly in iPhone5However they can also be detected so other devices can determine you’re near and are uniquely identifiedThis will allow eBooks etc to download relevant information (like daily newspapers), butAlready there’s advertising being developed that will be keyed to YOU (and your very near location)And of course your mobile phone can deliver advertising on the phone based on a specific location as it knows exactly where you arebased on the fixed readers around your location
Whitespace technology allows use of unused TV channels, these occur as neighbouring transmitters cant use the same frequencieseven though they’re transmitting the same programming or interference would occur.That leaves a lot of wasted spectrum.Ofcom are planning to make this available (there’s a few hoops they have to jump through first like changing the WTA and EU harmonisation),But they’re being very proactive and making hoping to make spectrum license exempt (i.e. end-users wont need a license).This will be good for rural broadband as TV spectrum tends to propagate well and goes through building well. So a centralTransmitter can reach lots of home.Also can be used in-home for a WiFi like service.However, there’s a catch – all transmitters have to register with a central database (controlled by Ofcom) to find out what local frequencies are availableThey have to know their own location and pass that back to the central database. Ofcom of course wont actually run the database themselves and will pass to a 3rd party.There’s a lot someone could do with knowing all that geo-data.
Big Brother is watching you, but most people don’t care and allowing it, as knowing your location gives you pointsAnd as everyone knows points make prizes!!!!
LBS It's all and you and what you're doing
Location is all about YOU<br />Steve Kennedy<br />NetTek Ltd<br />