In the fabulous idea we all have of being uber connected with everyone and everything, at every single moment; we seem to eagerly await the next one-upping of any technological advancements. It seems Google is the forerunner of this with their ever increasing urge to monitor our behaviour online, even on the move, and use it to their advantage – namely monetising advertising to be user friendly and relevant, thus increasing their profits and network.
All seems rather above board when you put it like that really, doesn’t it?
Well, it IS above board. They’re not hiding anything, but they’re not exactly shouting from the rooftops now either.
The next installment in the Google story reiterates their desire to move towards mobile devices. They have been pushing their maps function for a while now. The new feature of “My Places” is now allowing your movements to be stored… for your reference. Great! The article referenced quotes this as
“Google has added a new feature to Google Maps that lets users quickly access locations they rated, starred, or saved in Google Maps. However, those who don’t use this feature with care may accidentally be sharing personal information. Because maps are public by default, other users may get a gander at your saved locations.”
Pretty neat functionality really but a striking point. Do I WANT other users to know my whereabouts at all times? Probably not. It’s not that I’ve got anything to hide, of course not, but in an age we can never be too sure what the stalkers of this world are up to next, are we encouraging the act of stalking by advertising our movements?
I have no issue with the technology, but, like my issues with facebook’s privacy, I’d rather opt IN not OUT of these things. That for me is a breach of my choice. However they aren’t screaming these technological advancements from the rooftop as they’re hoping you stay opted in, even if that means because you’re nicely oblivious, then the network of participants will grow to the size able to monetise.
Is anyone else a bit annoyed at the privacy setting debacle?
“Google has added a new feature to Google Maps that lets users quickly access locations they rated, starred, or saved in Google Maps. However, those who don’t use this feature with care may accidentally be sharing personal information. Because maps are public by default, other users may get a gander at your saved locations.
The My Places Feature
Google, including in its various alternative access points (Maps for Mobile, Google Places, etc.), has allowed you to rate, star, and save local businesses or addresses that you want to access frequently. However, there was no simple way to access the starred data; it appeared on a map, and would auto-populate if you started typing in the address, but unless you remembered the general location you were out of luck.
The new “My Places” tab, unveiled on the Google LatLong blog, lets users get a quick look at the locations they’ve reviewed, starred, or saved. That information is automatically synced with all other Google Maps access points. Further, information that you don’t want to have saved can be removed with a simple “delete” button next to each entry in your My Places tab.
The Great, Accidental Gift to Stalkers
One of the main ways yours truly uses saved locations in Google Maps is to quickly access places I know I’m going to be traveling; it makes it simple to get directions. That means that some of the locations I’ve saved include my home, my parents’ home, my favorite coffee shop, and the rock climbing studio where I have a membership. And I don’t want everyone to know these locations, or know that the locations are associated with me.
If you save an item to your map, for use in My Places, you may accidentally be sharing the information. The default setting is “public” for the saved locales.
There’s a simple way to make sure that personal places aren’t shared:
- Go to the new “My Places” tab.
- Find the saved list of locations (by default titled “My Saved Places”).
- To the right of the list, the current privacy status will be displayed. If it says “Public,” click on the name of the list.
- Click “Edit” at the top of the screen.
- Change from “Public” to “Unlisted.”
From there you can simply save all your personal locations to one list that’s kept off the public web and all your public locations to another. In both cases, you’ll be able to access the data from the new Google Maps tab.”