Google Latitude is either a fantastic browser add-on that will bring you and your friends closer together than ever, or a civil libertarian’s Big Brother nightmare, allowing users to track the movements of their employees/relatives/spouses/children down to the metre. Here’s an article in Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald that takes the cyber-stalker angle (in the headline at least) on this iGoogle gadget release.
Latitude uses GPS, mobile phone tower data or manual position settings to map subscribers onto a Google Map. The map display can be viewed on a GPS/Web-enabled mobile or PDA, or on a desktop browser. If installed on a desktop machine, users need to have an iGoogle account running Gears, and an optional Profile. The position of subscribers (who opt in to the system) is calculated with either GPS or tower data or is manually set to a Google Map location by individuals. You can download the gadget and add it to your iGoogle page here.
Implications for Ed Tech
I think this type of software has the potential to expand a learner’s view of the world, particularly if used in an international context. Students from different locations could locate themselves and their exchange counterparts on the world map, adding another dimension (geographic location) to the learning context.