Saturday, March 6, 2010

Google Latitude

(Note - since writing this Google has cancelled Latitude)

Quick Blog today - as the season begins, I'm thinking how I'm gonna get all of my friends together. I work too hard during the week to chat everyone up. I have some that I send an email, some on Facebook, some on HDForums, some on BON, and I never really get to everyone, because while we may be going to the same place, likely we're coming form different starting points, with different people, throughout the day. Often, on Tuesday after a great day out, I learn that 15 of my buddies were in New Hope, or at OCC too.

I know Bikers aren't the best to accept technology, but we're getting there. Many have embraced CB's. More recently, its a flood - cell phones, GPS's and fuel injection all make the ride better. There's even a lot of stuff working quietly inside the bike like new battery technology.

Google makes a great tool called Latitude. You can use this on virtually any phone. GPS enabled phones will allow you to know where someone is within a few feet. Without GPS, the system uses telephone tower connections to tell where you are. This is actually a very good compromise because if you're inside, or on a bus or train, the system still knows roughly where you are.

Before you go "but anyone will know where I am". I've been using it for a year. I tell it exactly who can know where I am. If you're banking on-line, or using a GPS, heck if you even have a computer online, a good hacker can already tell if you're home using or not, so this isn't really any more of a risk of your privacy than starting up your GPS or laptop.

Now picture this, we drop kickstands at 11:30 in Flemington and realize that 3 of your best buds are in New Hope. Instead of missing them, you text them and make a plan to ride up and grab lunch, and ride for the rest of the day together.

You can setup the tool to send you a text when you and a friend are close to each other. You can rumble into Frenchtown and a few minutes later, you can get a text that says "Steve S is within 5 miles". Latitude even learns that you and a friend may work together and not tell you if you're close by every Monday thru Friday morning.

Go to, put in your cell phone and follow the instructions. BTW, the application Latitude runs over is Google Maps. This is by far the best application to help find a phone number, or a pub near where you're going for lunch.
You simply type "Pub" and it shows you all the bars, closest to where the maps is centered first, with a rating by users from zero to five stars. It give you the phone number, and you can dial right from Google Maps. I don't even have the number of places I call regularly in my phone like the quicklube down the block, its so easy to type "Quick Lube, Jackson NJ" into Google Maps.

My brothers and some friends have been using it for 9 months or more and it's great. Now if I can just get the rest of my riding buds on!!

1 comment:

AK602 said...

I love Lattitude, I only turn it on when I know ill be out of reach via phone or text, because it taxes the battery on my new phone.

Its wonderful because if im on the bike and cannot answer, Someone like Steve can tell my EXACT location and also no that I am safe and on the move.

Its a wonderful tool.