AOL has a new plug in available for their AIM client that will allow you to locate others on you buddy list. Eschewing the typical GPS route, they actually drove trucks through 2,500 cities and gathered unique information from wireless routers. They logged all of this information, and used it to determine someone’s location. The plugin will show you where someone is located on a map, or just show you who is within a chosen radius – assuming they have enabled tracking on their side.
My thoughts on this subject are numerous. Do I really care about this functionality? After all, can just ask them where they are. Would I allow myself to be tracked? Probably, because I really don’t care who knows. What about someone who moves and takes their wireless? Won’t the moving of routers and upgrades that are inevitable require constant updates? I would definitely think so, but it will be somewhat static for a while. And finally, what if you don’ t have other WiFi points near you or no WiFi in your computer? They allow you to put in your location, and if you choose not to, you are SOL.
In all, an interesting concept, but has a number of issues they will have to work out as they move along. It just seems like a lot of overhead to keep it current.