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Cellphones Advertising Google Patents Privacy

Google Deducing Wireless Location Data 90

bizwriter writes "When it comes to knowing where wireless users are, the carriers have had a lock on the data. But a patent application shows that Google is trying to deduce the information based on packet headers and estimated transmission rates. This would let it walk right around carriers and become another source of location data to advertisers."
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Google Deducing Wireless Location Data

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  • by KenMcM ( 1293074 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:28AM (#30959370)
    What's stopping carriers from deliberately slowing transmission rates for random customers during random intervals? Just enough such that Google's data is inaccurate.
  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:28AM (#30959374)
    Aside from 'google' 'mobile' 'patents' 'privacy' 'cellphones' and 'story' ... there should *always* be a 'not surprised' and 'obvious'. Google is king of data pillaging and border-line inter-personal information mining. This may fail or it could be highly successful for Google; regardless of the outcome, they've got their hands in just about anything as it pertains to identity on the internet now. This shouldn't be any more surprising; and it sounds pretty cool.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:41AM (#30959436)

    Either this patent is for a technology Google had figured out a long time ago

    Ding ding ding. Google's been using the technology for a while; they just filed for the application.

    You don't have to file for a patent the second you invent something. In fact, you usually want to wait as long as possible before the final steps. You get your foot in the door by filing some paperwork with the patent attorney, notarizing documents showing the invention, etc. etc.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:46AM (#30959466) Homepage Journal

    I hope they figure it out, because ATT somehow keeps my new Samsung phone from running Google maps properly. It can't figure out where it is at all. Makes it useless.

    I don't want to pay the fuckers "by the drink" for a GPS service. And I want to strangle the marketer that invented that idiotic bit of buzzword bingo too.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:59AM (#30959522)

    I can't remember the name, but in Snowcrash there was a company that was privatized from the government made up of the NSA and the Library of Congress. Google demonstrates more of the fictional company's capabilities every day

  • by GrantRobertson ( 973370 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:15AM (#30959606) Homepage Journal

    Now we know the real reason for the suggestion Google has made recently to change the way DNS works to report part of the requesting IP address. They don't give one whit about decreasing unnecessary traffic. They just want to use that for additional location data.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:16AM (#30959622)
    Google is a publicly traded company. They have to answer to their shareholders, lets see here, they could either ignore 1/6th of the earths population or be like every other company and censor. Google has a legal duty to do not what is morally right, but what is in their shareholder's interest. Completely ignoring a billion people is not what shareholders want. Google figured that now would be their best time to speak out against it and have the maximum impact.

    It would be one thing if Microsoft, Yahoo, and every other search engine stood up against the Chinese government but they didn't.
  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:42AM (#30959966)

    I'd rather be spammed with location aware ads than something thats no where near me.

    I frequently see variants of this notion and I still don't understand it.

    I generally don't impulse-buy. I believe that the model of independently determining my wants and needs and then shopping for the best solution available soundly beats the model of listening to a company tell me why that company is good for me, buying items for needs I never even knew I had. As in, I don't just think that sounds good, I really believe that which means I practice it. So, unless it is free broadcast radio or free broadcast television, I don't want to see active ads of any kind. They're useless for me. They're also useless for the advertiser, as the sole effect they have on my purchasing decisions is that if one is particularly annoying, I make it a point to go with a competitor.

    I'm fine with passive advertisements. They are more like opt-in/client-pull, whereas active advertisements are more like opt-out/server-push. Good examples are directories like the Yellow Pages and any online equivalents. When I want something your company sells, I know where to find you. Until then, I don't want to hear from you and it's in your business interests not to contact me against my will since I won't buy from people who are pushy. By nature, there's no reason for these to be location-aware.

    I think this is more common than what would be immediately apparent. Even if it isn't, consider that lots of people who are influenced by ads will still go to some trouble to block them. So the point is not so much the motivation, it's that the goal of many is to avoid ads, at least when it comes to a service you are already paying for, such as cellphone service. In that case, why would I care about whether an ad is location-aware? I'm not going to respond to it favorably anyway. To me, saying "at least the ads were location-aware" is like being fatally stabbed with a spear and saying "at least it's been polished recently", as though a tarnished spear is less fatal than a shiny one. It's actually much worse because location-aware means that someone knows my location whether or not I wanted to disclose this information to them. As a customer, unwanted and unauthorized disclosure of my personal information is not something I care to pay for.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by belrick ( 31159 ) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:51AM (#30960012)

    Did you not read the Google S-1 filing? Here: [] Their shareholders don't have much of a leg to stand on if they want to second guess Google management.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich