Location awareness creeps me out

At Lotusphere I decided to try out Brightkite for the first time in conjunction with Chris Miller and his IDoCheckin site. Basically what Brightkite does is allow you to say where you are location-wise, and then you can see where all your friends are as well. You can look and see who is in a similar location.

At first glance, that just seems really creepy to me. I don’t really want people knowing where I am at all times. After thinking about it I can see the utility at conferences where you are trying to meet people, or even if I was still in college, having it to see where all my friends are partying. But now, I don’t really want anyone knowing that I’m away from my home, at the doctor, the strip club or at the cigar shop. Sure, you have controls where you can only share your location with certain people you allow, but all software is made to be hacked, and I’m sure there are people seeing private data right now.

Anyway, back to Lotusphere. I decided to start using Brightkite, and it seemed pretty cool at first. Then when things got into full swing and I was moving all over the place in short timeframes, and I started to forget to update. Then after forgetting so many times, I just stopped updating. It became a hassle. I was more apt to just check Twitter and see what people were up to. That was good enough for me.

Well today, Google announced Latitude . I’m sure the guys at Brightkite just peed themselves a little, because they are about to become irrelevant pretty soon. Basically Google announced their own Brightkite-like service that links right into Google Maps. This is a location service that users can opt into. You make your friends and then you can see exactly where they are in Google Maps. People can manually set their location, or it can be automatically updated.

Let me repeat that, it can be automatically updated.

So you turn it on, and every time you move somewhere Google updates your location automatically. Doesn’t that seem way too big brotherish? It sure does take the hassle out of what I was experiencing with Brightkite, but on another level, Google knows so much about me already, tying in my location just seems a little much. I just see too much opportunity for abuse.

Who knows, I may come around eventually… like when I my daughters start dating 🙂