I came across this PC World article highlighting Google’s Latitude. The title, “Spy on Your Workers,” caught my eye so I checked it out. It explores this new offering and some implications it may bring.

Since KM is about capturing knowledge and then making it easily accessible, Latitude falls squarely on the KM dime. It combines Web 2.0, with social networking with cell phone tracking. The result: you can see where your friends, family and co-workers are at a given time. It works for both cell phone locations as well as computer locations (based on where you connect).

As long as you trust Google not to become or enable Big Brother type uses, you may choose to see Latitude as a ‘little brother’ or maybe ‘social brother’ application.

Beyond a certain ‘cool’ factor to check out where your friends are at anytime, it has business KM applications for employers needing to track locations of employees. To its credit, Google in its normal fashion leaves control in the hands of the user. You can hide yourself and/or expose your location as you see fit.

As with a number of new technologies, I am mixed with a sense of ‘that’s cool’ and ‘this is freakin me out.’ My uber geek friend Lincoln has already sent me a Latitude invite. As an old friend of mine he already knows where numerous bodies are buried (and vice versa), so I accepted his invite to check this out. I’ll need to give this more thought, especially after playing with it a bit. I’ve already set it up on my laptop and will do so on my Blackberry to see how it works and feels.

KM implications? Numerous. Latitude adds a unique layer of knowledge that has a value-add potential we shouldn’t ignore. But still … it’s freakin me out.

  • Toby –

    Big brother has been able to track you using cell towers for years. They can triangulate your location during calls. (maybe even when you are not making calls)

    I think location based social networking is the next direction the industry is going. From an advertising perspective it makes a lot of sense. Google would rather put an ad for a local business in front of you.

    They is getting people comfortable that they control when the information is sent.

    I am still waiting for the iPhone version to come out, before I distill an opinion.

  • Law1389

    Kind of wish the banks had this while their CEOs and execs were off visiting prostitutes on company charge cards! A little Big Brother may be what we need these days.

  • I LOVE the new Latitude! It’s really fun to keep tabs on friends and (with permission) co-workers. 🙂