We know where you live! (Or soon will)

Looks like US husbands will no longer be able to tell the wife that they're stuck in the office when they're propping up the bar instead...

With federal e911 regulations requiring that all cell phones can be precisely located, companies are using the same technology to launch commercial "location-based services." Consumers would be able to locate friends' cell phones or get directions to the closest Mexican restaurant or police station. Or find out where they are, if they're lost.

But whether America's 140 million cell phone users will embrace such services remains to be seen, especially since earlier non-calling services, such as wireless e-mail, are still struggling to catch on years after being introduced.

Location-based services in particular also have privacy advocates on edge, though carriers say consumer information will be kept safe. Such services work by triangulation, using either satellites or cellular antennas on a network to determine where a phone is by calculating its distance from the various fixed points.

So far, AT&T Wireless is the only one to introduce a so-called location-based service--called Find Friends--to its subscribers. But most carriers are expected to follow with their own versions in the coming months.

AT&T Wireless' Find Friends feature can pinpoint another cell phone's location down to an intersection in a city, or within miles in a rural area, according to spokesman Jeremy Pemble. It is offered in about two dozen areas where AT&T Wireless has a cellular telephone network using GPRS (general packet radio service).

News source: c|net

View: New cell feature helps find friends

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