Google has built a $580 billion empire by conserving its innovation engine working ahead of the competitors. However on Wednesday Google pulled off an impressive, and curious, feat: It wowed the public with an eight-year-old concept.
Google unveiled a new set of features for its popular Maps app that lets customers share their places with mates and contacts in actual time. Because of this update, Google Maps customers will now be capable to quickly let
friends know if they’re running late to a gathering or stuck in traffic.
It is a compelling concept. And in case you’re questioning why Google hadn’t considered this earlier, the answer is: It did.
In 2009, when smartphones were still in their infancy, Google launched something known as Latitude.
The Latitude app, to quote Google’s blog post announcing it, “permits you to share your location with your mates and to see their approximate places, in the event that they select to share them with you.” In different words, it is nearly the very same feature Google is now touting as the recent new factor.
Check out the two side by side.
Here is Google Latitude, circa 2009:
The interfaces look nearly similar, although technology has modified dramatically in the past eight years. (The initial model of Google Latitude was for BlackBerry cellphones.)
On the time Latitude was launched, the app drew widespread privacy issues. Privacy International, a European watchdog group, revealed a report highlighting the risk that customers may not remember Latitude was enabled and will thus monitor their whereabouts. A Google spokeswoman told Computerworld at the time that the company took consumer suggestions about privacy critically and was including notifications to alert customers when Latitude was turned on.
Eight years later, the privacy concerns have not gone away, however by and huge, the outcry has been a footnote to the story. Instead, many of the coverage has centered on the advantages of sharing locations for example, permitting mother and father to maintain observe of their smartphone-toting kids — not fear-mongering about how it may go wrong.
The world has changed since 2009 when Google first tried this. Two billion users are on Facebook’s social network. Hundreds of thousands of users put on bracelets that record their physical activity. The brand new hot gadget du jour is an eavesdropping microphone-speaker gadget with an innocent identify like Alexa that customers voluntarily put in their kitchens to get fast weather updates and sports activities, scores.
It isn’t the first time we have seen a as soon as controversial tech product resurface in new packaging a couple of years later to a a lot hotter reception. Simply look at how much cooler people assume Snap’s video-recording sun shades are now, just a few years after Google Glass.
The Google Maps location-sharing comeback is an efficient reminder of how shortly expertise strikes and the way fluid our seemingly deeply rooted societal norms could be.
Extra importantly, it is a good time to reflect and take stock of what we surrender (and what we acquire) each time we embrace the newest life-changing tech toys and providers.