Advertisers try to Use Geolocation – and the Law Wonders if it Should
In the world goes crazy over privacy breaches on Buzz, and Facebook, there is a lot of material in the new geolocation services, to get worked up over. There are nearly 100 location sharing applications out there, and one thing that really comes across anyone who has used any of these, is that Privacy features are not really central to the way these applications work.
If we thought that Facebook and other social networking applications, outraged our privacy, that sounds so old next to what geolocation services are able to do. The US government is quickly trying to catch up with protecting the rights of the citizens affected by these new services. It can’t be long before advertising services try to geo-locate you to serve you advertisements for the place you are in at any point. But now, if everyone can find you – you could be in trouble with the government, or with your job for it – if you can’t ever keep your life to yourself. And will the police be allowed to check on your location if you forget to turn off that function when you are on the run? Do they have the right? All these will be thrashed out, over the coming years as privacy begins to be defined as has never been imagined before.
Meanwhile, there are major new services jumping on the bandwagon all the time. Google Chrome’s latest version, uses a new kind of geolocation. It looks at your WiFi network, and all the ones around you to determine where you are. And the most anticipated entry in the arena is Facebook – as it plans to announce at its f8 developer conference. Facebook has been trying to get this feature right for about a year now, and has included location sharing regulations on its boilerplate. App makers are now going to be able to make use of the Facebook location API to get some real useful functions out there.
But Facebook isn’t really trying to steal market share from established players like Foursquare. In fact, Facebook plans to make use of all the location services, to present them all on its network. What Facebook seems most interested in, over destroying any startup’s business model, is in trying to gain advertising share from Google. Facebook has had revamped business pages for months now, in hopes of enticing small business advertisers away from Google. Google’s Latitude is a great competing service in this area.