As enraged as you may or may not be over the fact that your phone is tracking your location, you have to admit… it’s a pretty interesting story. The Wall Street Journal has filed a new report stating that both Apple and Google are collecting location data from their smartphone users — deflecting some of the public outrage in Google’s direction as well. “According to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour,” writes the Journal. Researcher Mike Castleman has developed a program that will harvest and parse location data stored on your Android device. The script isn’t quite as user-friendly as its iOS counterpart — you need root access to your device and some command line experience (as opposed to just clicking on a pretty icon and seeing your coordinates on a map) — but it will present you with a formatted location list. Castleman notes that the code used to collect location is “no longer open from Google” and that the data collected gets “pruned” when new location information is added. “Following the latest days internet outrage/overreaction to the revelation that iPhone has a cache for its location service, I decided to have look what my Android devices caches for the same function,” Castleman writes. If you’re interested in trying to squeeze the location information from your Android handset, hit the jump. The necessary links are waiting for you. More →
It looks like the gang from Mountain View have pushed Google Maps 5.2 to the Android Market. Aside from the standard performance improvements, the update adds the ability to post place-ratings directly to Twitter and “ping” friends to request check-ins. Google reminds you that both parties using Maps must be on version 5.2 to take advantage of the ping feature… so be a friend and remind your amigos to update. More →
If there has been one thing Google Latitude lacked, it was the ability to actually check-in to places and locations. You might ask why you’d need to do that since that service constantly runs in the background and updates your location to friends, but Latitude has never been focused on that granular level, it’s more been aimed towards seeing friends on a map, not what store they’re at, for instance. Today, that’s changing as Google is finally introducing check-ins for Google Latitude through an update to Google Maps on Android. Google is also looking to make check-ins a bit easier than other services like Foursquare, and here’s how:
- Google will offer check-in notifications. For instance, a notification will alert you on your phone that you went somewhere and forgot to check-in if you have been at one location for a long period of time.
- Google Latitude will offer automatic check-ins, so if you go a place often, it can automatically check you in to those places that you get tired of pulling out your phone and manually checking-in to.
- Latitude will also check you out as well. Once you have left a place, the app can check you out so that you’re no longer listed as being at that location.
These three things might not seem that big, but for the location space, they will go a long way towards making location useful, and reducing “check-in fatigue.” More →
The pain you must have all felt; Google Maps not being able to take advantage of the built-in GPS chip in your Verizon BlackBerry Storm. What was worse, if you unlocked your Verizon Storm, Google Maps worked fine on any other carrier — something totally weird. Well, good news. Google has just released an updated version of Google Maps for BlackBerry which supports GPS right out of the box, and it also includes Latitude so you can get your stalking on. Of note: Google politely told any other Verizon BlackBerry user (Curve 8330, 8830) to go screw themselves since the Storm is the only device with a third party-accessable GPS chip. For any other BlackBerry addict, don’t get too excited as this isn’t a new release of Google Maps for you, it’s just bringing the Storm handsets up to date with what you already had.
Fan of Google Maps? Use it a lot on your cell phones? Maybe you use Loopt to stay in touch with friends and family and check out what they’re up to and where they are? Well, starting today, Google’s new Latitude feature looks to steal their lunch. Google not only lets you see yourself on the map, but your friends as well (assuming they accept your invitation and opt-in to sharing their location with you). Google Maps for mobile with Latitude is available now for Android (it’s in the current RC33 update that’s being rolled out), Blackberry, Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile. The Apple iPhone version will be available soon as part of the Google Mobile App. And, if you don’t have a smartphone (uh, why are you even visiting this site?), you can even add the Google Latitude Gadget to your iGoogle homepage. If you use Google Gears or Google Chrome, the location of your desktop or laptop can be tracked, too. Pretty awesome stuff. Just don’t go askin’ any BGR writers to share their location, we’re pretty private people, you know.
We just got a hold of Dell’s 2008-2009 Latitude notebook roadmap, and there’s some pretty interesting stuff in here! Some of the laptops contained in our slides have been seen before, but it’s always nice to see the release dates for upcoming models. In the roadmap are the following Dell computers: E4300, E4200, XT2, E6500, E6400, E6400 ATG, E5500, E5500a, E5400, E5400a. Check out some of the shots from the presentation in our gallery!