Google Knows your Router Location – but it’s wrong

Like most of us Internet users, I use a few WiFi routers too. This post is to confirm that the Google Maps and Latitude team knows where exactly your WiFi router is placed. This information is loaded up on the Google servers and whenever somebody connects this WiFi router and uses Google Maps, it s hows you near that router. Pretty neat so far? Read on for a catch, a trouble and well, a kind-of solution.

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Google Latitude API Now Available

We’ve covered Google Latitude in the past. Google Latitude is an-add on to the Google Maps and a location based service that allows you to share your location with your friends and family. In case of mobile version of Latitude + Google Maps, you control who gets to see your location but with Google Latitude API, your location can not only be shared with some of the people you choose to share your information with, but you may agree to share your current location with websites, software, third party software solutions or other location based systems.

What are the possibilities?

The possibilities are unlimited with basic information being very simple. For example, if a lot of people in your city use Google Latitude on your mobile, a software solution may get to know about a traffic jam on the road ahead and can recommend you a different path. This is how Google Maps application could possibly show traffic information for several parts of the world without having physical traffic surveillance in place.

Similarly, you can turn on your home lights, air-conditioning or heating systems as soon as you reach near your house. Even your garage door could open automatically on your car’s arrival. I can write an app which could recommend few friends about a coffee shop that will not be far for all of them and they can meet up over a cup of espresso.

Privacy Concerns

Exciting possibilities but I’m not here to discuss application ideas that could be made on top of Google Latitude and maps. This actually concerns me one step further about the privacy. If I have Google Latitude running, I’m leaving a trail of my location and this trail could be used for all the malicious things one can think of. Good old days are gone when a Sniper could miss a chance of killing a movie hero just because he took another path :p

I know Google has been very responsible about the privacy issues but that always opens the possibilities for nasty advertisers giving me a call on my cell phone on the middle of the road saying “Hey, look to your left, that’s the ice-cream shop you always wanted to go to” or a telemarketer calling me, “Good morning! As you are standing on traffic crossing and you have another 3 minutes to wait for the light to go green, do you want me to tell you about our latest credit card?” Life will be way trickier if not insane.

Regardless of all the issues that could arise with this kind of service:

  • I’m still ready to use Google Latitude to share my location with my family and close friends.
  • I’m still ready to work on the Google Latitude API to come up with yet another killer application nobody else can think of
  • I’m still excited to know yet another possible way application developers can come up with very interesting solutions for us

Are you impressed, excited, happy, worried, concerned or disappointed about this new development? Please do leave a comment ­čÖé