Excite

Where've you been?

It was once said that Google's mission is to organise the world's information. In recent years, though, it's got better and better at helping us record new information about our own lives. The more we know about ourselves, so the logic goes, the more we can control our habits and live the lives we'd like to live.

This project took a big - but this being Google rather hidden - step forward this week with the launch of the new version of their location app Latitude. For the uninitiated, Latitude is a location app not unlike FourSquare, but with a few differences. First, it's been around longer than FourSquare, Gowalla and others, though in classic Google style they sort of dumped it on users and didn't do anything with it. Second, though you can use it to 'check in' to places like FourSquare, its main function is to actually run in the background of your phone and track your movements all the time.

That sounds terrifying, but of course that information isn't automatically shared - you choose which friends, if any, can see where you are, or you can publicly share the information down to city level. (So people can see when you go to visit friends in Birmingham, but not when you're at Torture Garden on a Saturday night. For, um, example.)

However, the new update isn't about sharing as much as keeping records. For the first time, the Latitude app can save and analyse your location history. You can see charts of where you spend most time, how far you travel in an average week, and so on.

It's early days but it looks like soon Google will be able to, for example, email you on a Friday to say 'you spent 74 hours at work this week. Wouldn't you like to go out and see your friends'? It could automatically send out your CV to potential employers if it sees you've been at home for two weeks. Actually that's a bit creepy.

But the point is, this gives you - and, of course, Google - more information about how you spend your day. That sounds like, on balance, a good thing to us.

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2017