Google is no stranger to controversy related to what some consider blatant intrusion and complete disregard for consumer privacy. While many appreciate the personalized results, others are equally wary about the information tracking and storage, and even more so when it comes to permissions required by applications allowing access to personal information on your handheld device.
In a move that is sure to stir up further controversy, Google was recently awarded a patent that will make your device, and indirectly Google, aware of your location. Engadget reports that the patent, filed back in September 2011, describes a software-based alert system and is titled “location-based mobile device alarm.” From the patent filing itself, certain excerpts that describe the product follows:
“This document discusses systems and techniques that may be used to change the behavior of an alarm clock on a mobile computing device, such as a tablet computer or smartphone, depending on the geographical location of the device. For example, a device alarm may perform in one manner when the device is determined to be in its user’s home, and in another manner when it determines that the user is traveling and away from home.
Also, the categories of information displayed on an “alarm” or “clock” screen of a user’s device may change based on whether the user is determined to be at home or somewhere else. For example, while local sports scores may be displayed adjacent the current time when the user is at home, such information may be replaced by travel information such as the flight status of a flight on which the user is scheduled to travel later in the day.”
Above are just some of the various implementations Google is planning for the software. If you are interested, you can check out the complete filing on the USPTO website.
This application does sound very useful, but the question arises (again) about whether consumers are willing to further compromise on their privacy to get appropriate alerts based on their location. Granted, such a service will likely, or rather, should definitely, feature the on/off option. Of course, this is all speculation at this point as there is no information that Google is even planning to release such a service anytime soon.
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about your smartphone or tablet keeping track of where you are at all times? Would you like a service that sends you alerts or sets alarms based on your location? Let us know in the comments section below.