Kai Ryssdal: Just when you thought you couldn’t lose any more privacy, allow me to introduce you to Maps Coordinate from Google. It uses the same technology Google Maps does — with a twist.
It lets companies with big mobile workforces — sales people, what have you — keep tabs on those workers, wherever they are, whenever they’re there.
Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek Smith has more on Google’s newest search engine.
Stacey Vanek Smith: Apparently, my fellow New Yorkers aren’t always at work when they’re supposed to be.
Craziest thing I’ve done on company time was check out a full-feature film. It was “Death to Smoochie.”
Snuck out and did my nails.
I’ve gone to Macy’s to go shopping.
We all went to a bar and got pretty tanked.
The fine art of playing hookie might be tanking, too. Google’s Maps Coordinate lets your employer use your phone to see where you are on a map every five seconds. Google’s been beta-testing the product with utility companies, telecom companies and pizza delivery companies.
Google Maps Coordinate ad: Since your operations team uses Google Maps Coordinate to visualize, when a problem arises, they can quickly assign jobs to the nearest available worker.
Maps Coordinate costs $15 per month per employee. AT&T and IBM have similar services.
Jeff Jarvis: Tracking mobile employees is a big business.
Jeff Jarvis is the author of “Public Parts,” a book about privacy. He says companies need to be careful.
Jarvis: If an employer used this service to snoop on employees, that I think will lead to a backlash.
Or maybe not. Brad McCarty is managing editor at the next web. He points out that people broadcast their locations all the time, with Facebook and Foursquare.
Brad McCarty: I think for businesses, it’s probably a great tool.
Vanek Smith: Would you voluntarily be tracked?
McCarty: Uh, wow, I’m not sure.
Google points out Coordinate has an invisible function. So if you’re, say, ducking out for a quick matinee, you can do it off the grid.
In New York, at my desk, working, just like always, I’m Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.