We really have a love/hate relationship when it comes to GPS. One minute we’re crying out about privacy and the next we’re letting everyone in the world know where we are. GPS can open the door to some great services, but can easily pave the way for a whole lot of scary.
GPS is the single best feature of smartphones. There, I’ve said it—it’s true. I’ve been on several trips now to unknown places where directions have been a life saver. Getting from point A to B when trekking through the undiscovered country is just the beginning.
Apps like Urban Spoon use your current location to serve you up choices of nearby restaurants based on the criteria you input. What if it could do more? What if the daily specials popped up on your phone just as you got close to the restaurant? Hmm, I am kind of hungry, maybe I’ll stop in? What about a nearby shoe sale? Yes please!
When iOS5 debuts October 12 it’ll let you make GPS based reminders. I can’t even count how many times I’ve got home after work only to have it hit me “I was supposed to stop and get groceries!” Soon my phone can alert me when I leave work or get to the street the grocery store is on. Perfect!
Before you could just find your phone if you lost it. Now you can find your friends (or family) too—or they can find you (if you opt for it). I can see this being helpful if you have kids you want to keep an eye on, or the temporary cases to let your friends find you on a busy beach. Long term though?
That’s when things start to get scary. Who needs to know where you are at all times? Well, everyone of course. It’s fun!
Services like 4 Square make games out of GPS. Ha, I’m the Mayor of the Gym! Well ha!—now I know where you are all of the time and what your favorite hobby is.
So many of the fun social features we use actually collect a lot of personal data about us. Remember that while it may be fun—you may think it’s a game—but you could be giving up a little too much about yourself. Is a badge worth it?