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So Google has announced a new service that effectively lets you track where your friends are at any time via Google Maps and mobile phones. Google Latitude is either a mobile real time social networking work of genius, or a big brother work of the devil depending upon your viewpoint. I would suggest that the latter is, perhaps, a little on the paranoid side seeing as it allows you at all times to maintain complete control over your privacy. It is not in the same privacy ballpark as the whole Phorm controversy.

It's a cool idea which can work from both your mobile and your PC, as long as you and your friends agree to the tracking process. I like the privacy menu which allows you to share or hide your location as you wish, and configure the granularity of the tracking so you can, for example, just share a city-level location with certain friends. I also like the ability to share status messages and photos, contact your contacts via SMS, IM or voice and even get satnav style directions to their locations.

Best of all, so Google promises, all of this is coming soon to the iPhone and iTouch soon, at least for US users via the Google Mobile App. Of course, Google does not quantify what 'coming soon' actually means, but I doubt it will be too long before God Phone users can join Androids and others in the people tracking fun business.

Now I wonder when the first mashup will arrive to allow you track people while swimming courtesy of Google Ocean?

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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