Friday, March 26, 2010

Where are you geolocated?

Geographical location software enabled mobile phones, simply known as geolocation, is the latest rage in social networking. You can be somewhere in the city and let your “network of friends" know where you are located: at a restaurant, bar, etc. It’s kind of like Twitter on the go. And with some of the apps like FourSquare you can earn points toward some sort of reward. There are other services like Gowalla and Loopt that perform similarly. The software is free for your iPhone, Blackberry, and some other mobile devices.

There’s yet a newer twist to geolocation with a marketing twist. Advertising Age reports that companies like Proctor & Gamble, Kraft and Citi have been employing this software since December in the name of charity. In other words, the Ad Age article reports you not only check in with your friends, now you can check in with Kraft salad dressing or Gillette razors by scanning the product codes with your mobile phone. Seems bizarre, but people are doing it, as these companies have given over $200K per month to charity in exchange for consumer complicity. Is this a good idea? I don’t know. But if you project into the future and consider Facebook or Twitter in an anytime and everywhere environment – why not? Keep an eye out for this one, or try it out and let me know what you think. As for me, I think I’ll keep my location private.

12 comments:

Megan Donovan said...

This definitely feels like marketing gone too far. It seems like it could be a good idea at first: allowing parents to know where their children are, meeting up with your friends and allowing them to know where you are, etc. But it seems like much too much information being out there on the web. I do not want marketers to know where I am and to cater their advertising to me at my exact location, because that seems far too stalker-ish. Someone is on a big database somewhere following your every move. It seems like a form of stalking that we already allow to some degree with supermarket rewards cards and Twitter, but this seems to be crossing a line. Also, there seems to be a lot of my information that is being sold online, especially on Facebook-- my location, age, interests, religion, relationship status-- which make the ads that are catered toward me. I want a cut of the money Facebook is making from me!

Dana Verona said...

I have never heard about this until now. I think it is pretty amazing how much technology has advanced over the years. Being able to see where your friends are on your handheld is actually scary. I personally haven nothing to hide, however other people may. I think it provides to much information about your friend. It is almost like you are "Big Brother" and you know every location your friends are. You don't even have to pick up the phone to call them because you have it right in front of you.

I think this is a great idea for parents and their children. It allows parents to have control and security over their children. They know when and where they are at all times. It can relief stress that they don't want to carry on their shoulders all day. I am interested to see how many people are going to use this.

nat32590 said...

This entire idea of geolocating people seems a little creepy to be honest. I've always found it to be intriguing, after all...you can locate whoever whenever whereever, and instantly have access to their location. In comparison to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking websites, this seems to be the most unsafe. On facebook and twitter it's easy to monitor what people see and don't see about you. However, geolocating gives people your location, and how to get there. I personally don't like this idea at all. It seems like it would be a good way for parents to locate children, and people to find their stolen phones, etc... however, I feel like it's violating your privacy. I suppose that you have to make the choice for yourself, and in that, you put yourself at risk. In regards to getting coupons or discounts from stores and restaurants around your area through geolocating, I think this is beneficial, but I'd go absolutely nuts getting all these notifications on my phone all the time. It would make me hate the idea even more!

Gruber said...

When we looked at the geolocated in class I was both amazed and creeped out at the same time. To know that someone is able to watch your every move without you being aware of it gives me an uneasy feeling. I don't think this is close to facebook in many regards. When someone is updating their status or tweeting about what they are going to do they know that people can see it, and for the most part, want people to. Someone, however, isn't going to post something that they don't want the nation to know about. When it comes to the geolocator, the person must have in mind what they are signing up for.
I would never sign up for this. The line needs to be drawn somewhere. Facebook and tweeter are personal enough in my opinion. There are certain things that I would not want people to see or know about. I would literally feel like there were eyes on me at every moment. I need my personal space and the geolocator would by far be popping that bubble.

Brianne Sullivan said...

I also had never heard of this technology prior to reading it on the blog. Not that I have much to hide, but I do not want my "friends" knowing every single place I am at without even telling them. It seems creepy to me to have this knowledge of other people's location at all times. I think it takes away from socializing in a traditional fashion even more so. There isn't even a need to text someone about where they are or what they are doing when you have this application.

I can see why marketers would want their hands on this. They can see where people are more inclined to go and it may help them with their advertising objectives, but again I think this is allows too much of my personal information readily available. In regards to parents having this application with their children, I guess it could be beneficial for the many safety issues in today's society. I would be afraid it would take away trust and not allow true trust to exist between parents and children.

mchenkels said...

The new geographical location software in mobile phones is a good idea, however I feel that it has some downfalls. It has already started to get publicity with showings in popular television shows like Gossip Girl where a character was drugged and lost. They found her using the technology fast and just in time. In a commercial for the new program for Verizon wireless they show a mother worried about her daughter shopping with her friends for the first time. I think that this was a great ad for the new software and a lot of parents would get it so they can keep an eye on their kids. Another positive thing about the software is that if a child is kidnapped and has their phone hidden on them the police can locate them quickly. For the parents it is a good product, however for the kids it might be as exciting.
This technology is going to be the latest form of stalking. First it was MySpace, then Facebook where you could learn even more information about a person, and then Twitter where you can follow someone’s day. Now not only can you know what they are doing but know where they are in real time. I think that it’s a good idea and will be used a lot but will stir up ethical issues when is and when marketers get hold of the locations.

Lizzie Nirenberg said...

I am worried about the future of our society. For millions of parents, they were immediately concerned over the facebook boom, and now many of those have created pages themselves. Currently, I am fearing what the future holds for geolocators. I am nervous how the government will slowly gain hold of this information and use it to track citizens. However, i can totally see this becoming a facebook sort of thing for technology. I think that as scary as it may seem, geolocators will be so much a part of the future that life will cohesively move on together.

jamurray1 said...

This is creepy, to say the least. I kind of understand the purpose of this and on occassion it would be helpful to know where people that are important to you are. Unfortunately, to me this is a huge invasion of privacy and is on an eqaul level of stalking. I dont understand why people would want to know what their friends and family are doing, when theyre doing it and who theyre doing it with. At the same time, I wouldnt want people, regardless of my relation to them, knowing where I am at every mometn of the day. This also exposes a huge amount of personal information to web users, whether they are advertisers or not. In my opinion, if i am going ot openly be giving advertisers all this information regarding my likes nad dislikes and daily activities I should be getting something back from them in addition to the thousands of ad thats will consequently be directed at me based on these interests. this is the beginning of technology taking over our lives.

Nicole Santagata said...

I think the concept of geolocation is an example of technology that has gone too far. I think for obvious safety reasons it is not necessary for everyone to know where you are. I understand how this concept could be useful to marketers but there is a downside to this as well. Consumers will easily get tired of their phones buzzing/vibrating, and checking it to see that it is only a message from a store or a restaurant. I think the only positive to something like this is that parents will be able to know where there children are. This will increase safety for teens. Besides this, I think gelocation technology is excessive

Katherine Kalec said...

I think the geolocator is an extremely strange concept. I like the fun aspect of it, how you can track your friends and family. I do think, though, if it gets and further than this it is going to be invading peoples privacy. Technology advancing so much is scary to me. From a personal standpoint I don't see the true benefits this has to marketing. Like Megan said, they have taken it a step too far.

Like we talked about in class, I have attempted to use this for a phone tracking device when I left my phone in a cab. I believe this should be used for personal access only and that marketers have no right to follow our every move.

Samantha Pessognelli said...

Geolocators are the new technology used by family, friends & stalkers. It's one thing to keep track of your children when they go out, but I think even that is a little over bearing. Looking to see what a friend is doing that day is cool, but I don't think that very many people want random friends to keep track of them. I think most people use face-book and the phone, it seems very foreign to me that people would want that information in the open at all times. Just seems like a lot of personal information that could cause a lot of conflict with trust or safety...

Therefore the government/marketers have gone too far and their pushing boundaries for other new ideas like the locator chips for dogs and humans. Though technology will only advance, so the future will tell the defects...

Keyan said...

After seeing this blog post, I quickly saw on some of the other blogs I check like "Is four square the new twitter?" Personally, I think it could be if it catches on virally. At first everybody dissed twitter, now everyone important, and even more so people who are unimportant have one. I never thought I would hear Anderson Cooper say " and you can follow me on twitter". So I really think the "geolocation" technology can take off. The downside is privacy just became less private (if that even make sense). As I said in class, stuff like this can be used as a digital leash, instead of the leash you would see a child on at the supermarket.