Saturday, June 16, 2012

Find My Friends to get Geofence Alerts on iOS6

Find My Friends on iOS 6 is about to become a lot more useful - and to once again raise some privacy concerns, for sure.

If you don't know what Find My Friends is, it's the Google Latitude equivalent for Apple's iOS users: a service that allows you to see where your friends/family are, in real time, provided they've allowed it, of course.

This service offer a bit more control over Google's Latitude however, by allowing you to create time-specific events, that allow you to share your location with a group of people you might now want to share your location permanently. For instance, if you're throwing a party somewhere, you might want to let "everyone" where it is and how to get there. But when the event expires, you don't have to manually take care of it, and your location goes back to being shared with just your most trusted friends.

With iOS6 you'll be able to create geofenced zones that alert you when friends exnter/exit those areas. For instance, you might set up a zone around your home, to know when a friend is arriving; or instantly find out when your kids get to school or leave it; etc.

Indeed useful... but before you start imagining the "stalking" factor such system would allow, let's keep in mind that's exactly what you could already do by simply keeping an eye on your friends location on Find My Friends/Google Latitude. Besides, these services require each users express consent so that their location is shared, and with whom. So... if you're not confortable knowing some "friend" might be keeping tabs when you go somewhere... simply stop sharing your location with them.

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