Google lets you map your work (and traces every step you take)


Billed as a timesaving productivity feature, Google announced Maps Coordinate yesterday. The new program uses the technology behind Google Maps and gives employers a way to get a visual of employees’ every move by stalking their smartphones. I can barely think of a way that any lawsuits could come out of this.  

The New York Times maps out how this thing is supposed to work:

Companies can use the service, which costs $15 per user a month, to quickly deploy team members, share location information and keep a permanent record of where everyone has been, Google said. Information specific to the company, like the location of warehouses, can also be incorporated. Google said the product has been tested in areas like government services, utility maintenance and pizza delivery.

But let’s be real, who in their right mind is going to want to walk around like a jailbird under house arrest for their job? Not to mention the kind of employer/employee trust relationships this technology could potentially blow up. The Times got in touch with Tim Drinan, a Google spokesman, who said, “The team has given a lot of thought to maintaining privacy, you can go invisible any time you want, or set it to make yourself invisible every day at 6 p.m. when you get off work,” which makes me think why not just go “invisible” all day?

It doesn’t take too much of a skip and jump to get to tracking people outside the workplace. Parents track your kids. Husbands and wives track each other. All under the guise of safety, maybe, but you can see how this thing could be the rainstorm that erodes that sturdy hill you’ve spent years building your Trust House on. And soon that Trust House will be splinters in  a pile of mud at the bottom of a sinkhole of paranoia. Wait, what was I talking about? Hey, maps!

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.
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