Google's Creepy New Plot Tracks Users

"Latitude" offers the very latest in privacy invasion technology

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Google can now pinpoint your location with GPS or approximate it with WiFi -- either way, the Mountain View company knows where you are.

    Google is releasing a new service today called "Latitude" which will display a user's location based on GPS, cell tower or WiFi triangulation of a mobile phone or laptop.

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    While the software offers privacy settings and the company promises not to store location information, the new project is creepier than previous privacy-invading services like Google Maps Street View by an order of magnitude.

    The Mountain View company makes money primarily by selling highly-targeted advertising on Web sites, and CEO Eric Schmidt has gone on record saying the company sees mobile devices and location-based targeting as the next big revenue growth opportunity.

    Google's share price has plummeted to $350 from a high of $602 in the last year -- with even insider Paul Otellini, the CEO of chipmaker Intel who has a seat on the Google's board unloading thousands of shares.

    While Latitude is presented as a service to "See where your friends are in real time," even if you opt out of making your location publicly available Google's all-seeing algoritm can still use the information to better target ads as you browse sites with your smartphone.

    Black helicopters and tinfoil hats aside, it's not paranoia if they really are out to track you.

     

    Jackson West is a freelance writer who should probably just give in and start praying to Google.