Phones Will Soon Tell Where You Are

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?

Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they're rolling out services to make it possible.

Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.

Read it all from the front page of Friday's Wall Street Journal.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology

Posted March 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Newbie Anglican wrote:

I wonder how long before this is mandatory . . . with Big Brother watching, of course.

March 30, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
2. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Big Brother is Watching.

Well, maybe that’s your little brother instead.
The Rabbit.

March 30, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
3. Chris wrote:

this all presupposes using a cell phone is somehow mandatory.  It’s not.  And I’m sure you’ll have to pay extra for this, so you don’t have to if you’d rather not have it.

March 30, 9:59 pm | [comment link]
4. John316 wrote:

Now I’ll know if my kids are really where they say they are when they call and report.  Big Daddy is watching!

March 30, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
5. DonGander wrote:

In my business, I have been asking my cellphone vendor to provide such a service and my contractors are even MORE hoping such happens soon. It is their job to let me know where they are and their operational status and it is the most tedious and irritating part of their job. A cell phone that will immediately answer the question without bother would be a great convenience.


March 30, 11:18 pm | [comment link]
6. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

Don, as long as such data is voluntary. Company phones, that need only be turned on when on duty (some may be on 24/7 in their job description!) are fine. But the mandatory transmission of such information on a personal phone is a lot to swallow.
About the furthest I could go is if it automatically transmitted the day if the user keyed “911”

March 31, 10:58 am | [comment link]
7. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

make that “the data” not “day”

March 31, 10:59 am | [comment link]
8. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

the furthest I could go is if it automatically transmitted the data if the user keyed “911”

Eric, it already does that, at least in most areas. Not all the 911 response services have the technology online yet. In the best regions, the call is automatically routed to the appropriate area response service based on the physical location of the caller.
The Rabbit.

March 31, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
9. Marty the Baptist wrote:

Of course I had planned all along to secretly do this to my daughter’s phone when she gets one in a few years.  Awesome that I won’t even have to be sneaky about it!

March 31, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
10. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

BR, I think that is only partially true.
The area can be triangulated from the cells accessed by the phone, but that only gives a general area. (and yes, any cell phone that is running continually gives that data). But precise location would require that the phone receive GPS data. Otherwise, the phone does not know where it is, only what towers it can talk to.
(Of, course, I may not know squat! this stuff changes too fast.)

March 31, 1:51 pm | [comment link]
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