Twitter, the service you either love or hate, will be offering a geo-location service soon. This is something other web sites like BrightKite have tried to get other people to start using. You go somewhere then announce where you are by means of GPS coordinates.
Consumer location-aware tech is still something that’s relatively new. There are certain things you should practice so the tech is used to your best advantage.
1. Don’t mark a location in front of your house.
Most people test the technology on a smartphone right from their own home. The tech is designed to be 100% public with the option of making it private. Most people forget about that option. When performing your test, do so at another location else everybody knows where you live – including the people you don’t want knowing this information.
2. Be wary of auto-updating features.
Several location-aware services have the option of auto-updating. This is convenient, but you may forget you have it on, thereby having it serve to your disadvantage.
Example: You’re a husband that decides to surprise your wife by going to get her flowers that day. If your wife sees that you went to the flower shop by means of a web site showing your location, the surprise is ruined.
3. If it’s public, your boss is tracking you.
Many companies today routinely scan the internet for any scrap of information about you, especially if you’re an employed by them. Heck, it almost saves them from having to do periodic background checks! If you’re on the clock and sending out location data, chances are high the boss will be following your movements.
4. Thieves can easily know when you’re not at home.
Years ago it made news that when you set your email signature to a vacation response that said, "I won’t be home from dates X to Y, but will be checking my mail as soon as I get back", thieves would purposely email people just to get this information so they knew certain homes were free and clear to rob from.
If a thief is following your movements via your location broadcasts, it can lead to the same disastrous results for you. This is especially true if you broadcasted your location from your house (see point 1 above). The thief knows where you live, knows when you’re not at home and knows exactly when to go and break into your house – even in broad daylight. In fact he can even study your location patterns to determine the best time to "do the job", so to speak.
5. Know all options for private location broadcasting.
This is the best piece of advice on the list. Don’t just start broadcasting without knowing how to protect your location information, should the need arise.
Location-aware? Good? Bad? Useful? Worthless? Dangerous?
Let us know what you think.