Tips on Using Google Latitude

By now, Google Latitude should be no stranger to those who surf my blog as I have been talking about it the day it was launched.

This post is about how you can use Latitude on your daily life and also my thoughts on privacy.

For those who had missed my earlier posts, here are the summary: –

  1. What is Google Latitude
  2. How can Singaporean use Latitude even though it is NOT in the Google supported countries list

Read on for some tips and experience sharing that I have gathered.

Tip 1

Do not ignore Google Help Center on Latitude. It has questions that many people are facing.

Click Here to Go To Google Latitude Help Center

Tip 2

You can update Latitude on the road without using Google Map Mobile. It is a function that I missed out but I guess it is very straight forward.

  • Go to Google Map menu.
  • Select Exit.
  • You will be prompt “Continue to share your location with Latitude?”

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  • Click Yes.

But by doing so, your phone will be constantly using your Data Connection (ie. GPRS) to update your location. Data charge will incur. Please check your data plan before you do this.

I did a short observation on how much data is transmitted every Latitude updates. It may be different from Phone to Phone or Service Provider to Service Provider. I am using HTC Touch HD and Starhub.

From my observation on the data connection, it updates a few minutes once. Using SPB GPRS monitor provided with my Touch HD, it actually capture about 3KB to 5KB per update.

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So, to experiment, I set my location update to Yes and I traveled to a few places from 6:30pm to around 7pm.

Below is my SPB GPRS Monitor screen capture.

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Notice that this is an hourly report page. Between the 7pm and 9pm bar, these are the data usage. I am NOT using other data related activity during this time. So, as an estimation, it uses around 100KB for that half hour.

This experiment is NOT accurate as I did not set the condition correctly. For example, during the experiment, I have incoming calls and at some part of the experiment, the screen is always on and on some part, the screen is off. This may have some effect.

So, my recommendation is that unless you have an unlimited data plan, don’t turn on this function. Or if you really wish to do so, try to monitor it and let me know your usage. I am sure many are eager to know. 🙂

I checked the help center. It mentions: –

Google Maps for mobile and Google Latitude are free to download and use from Google, however regular data service costs do apply. Before you download and use either, we recommend that you contact your mobile service provider to find out more about your data plan and rates.

Note: Continuous location sharing uses a lot of data. An unlimited data plan is strongly recommended before using this feature.

Tip 3

The last tip is whether Google Latitude is able to capture your location based on GPS rather than phone signal. In my experiment, it seems to do so and the accuracy is much better. Just turn on the GPS function and make sure you are in an open area to capture GPS signal.

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Question about Privacy

Lastly, regarding Privacy. I read one article that mention some privacy group is NOT happy with Google Latitude. They mentioned that it is a danger to security.

Read the Article Here

I think there are some truth about it. But from my experience on Latitude, so far, a reset on the phone will disable the Location Update function and will ONLY turn on again if you access Google Map and reactivate it.

Also, I think there are more dangerous software around that can be installed without your knowledge to track you using the same phone signal technology.

In my opinion, if you are NOT comfortable with it, don’t use it.
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