I know where you are!: Mobile devices and GPS

The other day I was in Houston for a seminar and as usual, got lost, despite the fact that I had a printed map and directions to the venue. I called the hotel I was going to stay at for help and they hung up on me. Oh well. After taking a few more wrong turns, I suddenly remembered that my G1 has a built-in GPS. I pulled over and opened the “Maps” application hoping to use it get new directions. The menu had an entry called “My Location” so I tapped on it and lo and behold, it brought up a street map of my exact location.This got me thinking. With the prevalence of mobile devices and the increasing bundling of GPS software with these devices, are we now on the threshhold of willingly or unknowingly advertising our location to anyone about where we are at any time? Of course we can disable the GPS on our cell phones and mobile devices, but how many of us remember to do that after using it to get from point A to point B?

As it is, a few companies are already betting on this trend and are seriouly working on applications that will allow people to track our movements on the internet (for example,  Glympse, Loopt, Scoutic and Google Latitude) .

How would you like people to watch in real time as you circle around a block looking for a parking space, or stop at the liquor store instead of going to the gym. Oh, how about coming home and seeing a note on the door advising you to go back to the “meeting” you had at that strip club?

On the flip side, there are situations where this technology can save lives and get help to people in distress.