A Look at Google's Location-Based Mobile Alerts Patent

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As pointed out by Endgadet, Google owns the right to a patent that, according to its title, is a "Location-based mobile device alarm," an idea that will surely please those of you who worry about the collection of location data and Google's apparent assault on the world's privacy. The patent's description also reveals some potential uses for the location-based mobile technology:

The alarm application may be configured to automatically surface various information upon activation of the alarm. User interest in a particular subject or piece of information may vary depending on the user's environment. For example, a user waking up at home may find it useful to review news traffic and weather. In contrast, a business traveler may be interested in a flight status, taxi availability, and information related to travel plans. In order to better serve a user, the wireless device may be configured to support various configurations responsive to a user's environment so that a user at home receives home environmental information and a business traveler receives travel environmental information.

To get such capabilities from your future mobile Android device, you would (hopefully) have to opt-in to it, which means as long as the unnamed service is active, Google, or at least its Android OS, will know where you are anytime your device is on. Are consumers willing to give up their privacy in order to receive alerts that are tailored to their location? Certainly, there are some who would opt-in, but considering the outcry Google's faced anytime their commitment to privacy is questioned, there are many who probably would decline.

What about using this technology for location-based ads that are actually useful? Would consumers opt-in for that kind of notification? Say, for instance, you're out shopping with your family and, thanks to location-based technology, an ad pops up informing you of a two-hour sale at a store that wasn't in your planned rotation? Would that be intrusive or something mobile technology was created for.

How you answer depends, in large part, on how much you depend on mobile devices in your day-to-day life.

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