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This app will freak you out, but it's the future of, well, a lot


Everyone I've shown this app to today (it came out last week) says "that's freaky."

What does it do? It captures a ton of data on your phone as you move through the world. Right now it keeps a list of places. But here I sit down with founder Sam Liang for a discussion about just what data it captures, how that data could be used, and how he's going to get people to cross the freaky line.

This is the future folks and, it, is, indeed, freaky. Learn more at https://www.placemeapp.com/placeme/ It's a free Android or iPhone app.

Last night I spent a few hours with Liang talking about this kind of persistent ambient sensing app.

It studies all the sensors in your phone. Temperature. Compass. Gyroscope. Wifi and bluetooth antennas. Accelerometer. It collects all that data and uploads it to his servers.

This app knows EVERYTHING about where you are, even more than you do. It is TOTALLY FREAKY and TOTALLY is the future.

I'm already addicted to it, and Highlight, which uses some of the same data to show me people near me.

I'm not the only one. +Tim O'Reilly is using it. So are thousands of other people.

Let's see what it learns pretty quickly.

1. Where you live.
2. Where you work.
3. Your route to work (it can tell you're driving).
4. What church you go to, or if you go at all.
5. What strip club you go to and just how excited you are (seriously!)
6. What gas station you stop at. It also knows how many miles you have to drive before you have to get more gas.
7. Whether you are walking or running or just standing still.
8. Whether you just got in a car wreck.
9. What your favorite restaurants are and what kind of food you both like and hate.
10. What kinds of things are you likely to have bought inside stores, or at least the departments you visited.

Everyone should watch this video to see what the future will look like once you cross the freaky line (I already have and I predict you will too -- these kinds of apps will save you money and make your life better. We talk a bit about the use cases in this video.

Are you freaked out yet? You should be. But let me know if you are joining me in using apps like this and Highlight, which are both over the freaky line.

By the way, I shot this video late at night in front of the http://blackbox.vc/ Blackbox VC Mansion, where I met Sam at a party. More on that soon, it's one of the coolest startup incubators I've ever visited. This is why I love Silicon Valley so much. Where else can you meet guys like Sam who freak you out and show you a mind-blowing future?
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327 comments
Seth Moon
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Does it Tweet that you have just been in a car wreck for you?
 
"Death Tweets" Film at 11.
I'd also like to add that Criminal Minds did an episode where a person was using an application similar to this to seek out his victims. >.> Jus' sayin'.
Andy Chen
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The thing is .. why do I need this info stored? I know what I have been doing and don't need anyone else to know. I am failing to see the benefit.
 
I was driving from San Diego to Santa Cruz at an accelerated rate and wondered how long it would be before police were able to hack my phone and see that I was driving over the speed limit, and then send me a bill in the mail. Looks like it could be a lot sooner than later.
 
Downloading it as I type this. I wonder how it performs on a bike...
 
Interesting technology, but what's the value in this app specifically?
 
He's making the government's job a lot easier. Wonder if he will get a thank you from them.
 
Agree with Andy Chen. Why exactly would I send off all my location-based information to some unknown third party for them to do $DIETY knows what with?
 
Information car and health insurers would kill for. Btw, Sam and Alohar will be speaking at Social-Loco in June.
 
Similar goal to my University thesis back in the day - "Reality mining using mobile devices and pseudonymous social networks". In this I also used the mobile sensors of what was then the next generation of mobile devices to learn about the world around us eg familiar strangers etc.
 
freaky line ... I must test this out . sounds cool but a battery killer too
 
car insurers already have 'blackboxes' that measure how you drive and where to adjust premiums.
 
Definitely BIG Brother...
 
Saw this some time back, its more of your 'Path', but automated.
 
gata work with AGPS ritht?
there is no signal inside the building with conventional GPS
my android phone doesn't have that
 
It doesn't need to really have GPS, each building has a unique wifi fingerprint that it could use. But, like in the video, the local Walmart has a roof which works with GPS anyway.
 
I think I would like to keep my strip club activity to myself vs. sharing with "other trusted technology providers," unless the application will buy lap dances for giving them all this free information. ;-)
 
+Robert Scoble that's an interesting take on it. I can imagine a helpful reminder that you might want to fill up at your usual stop coming up at the next exit or something along those lines if you're prone to not paying much attention to your fuel gauge.

Or maybe with some API integration letting you know there's a new restaurant with a cuisine you favor on your usual route, or your favorite meal has a coupon.

The flip side of course is the privacy/security concern. Even behemoth Google has been hacked before, and for just a few dollars and no warrant government agencies can get hold of your information in the cloud.

I'd like to know more about how Placeme intends to handle that.

Otherwise, they must have some fascinating algorithms to make accurate guesses about your habits... Interesting stuff.
 
+Jim Peake you can "pause" the app, or turn off your phone. Either one will keep this thing from collecting data.
 
I've been tracking myself on Latitude since they started allowing history in 2009. I rationalise the "freaky" aspect of it by considering that in 30 years time, I could potentially have an unbroken log of everywhere I've been to look back on. For a data nerd, that kind of thing is very compelling. And if they can tie all this location data up with every other aspect of your digital life (photos, texts, purchases), it would make for an intriguing collection of information.

Yeah, you do sometimes wonder how it could all be misused... but I figure it might just get me off a false accusation or something ;)
 
I don't want anyone to get that much data about my life. This is absolutely scary.
 
I can see tons of useful applications of this technology, but +Robert Scoble is right - it's way over the freaky line. The problem here is that the data is real-time.
 
You mean AGPS via wifi?!!
that's new
 
+Robert Scoble This is much cheaper than a PI. Install placeme on your cheating spouses phone and you get a list everywhere they have been ... lol.
 
downloaded,I'm all ready to get freaky.

I wonder what information they store on your UDID after I uninstall the app?

And what other things they track and don't tell you ...

lazy-mans foursquare
 
+Nicholas Long or, as we note in the video, it can be used to prove that you aren't cheating on your spouse. Might save a few marriages.
 
Your investment portefolio is terminated, ptr error? or id mismatch??
 
This is a Marketers dream... wonder where the ads go ? -hit me up when you need an ad sales guy !
 
I actually like the fact it isn't social but for it to be successful will it have to become social? Hmm.
 
"WAY the fuck over the freaky line!" Love that quote, +Robert Scoble! It could be used for big brother things and also VERY personalized sales/promo/news/info things. And it is the future. Remember the Tom Cruise moving Minority Report when the system would flash peoples retinas and know their ID and shopping history or personal preferences. Like most things, can be helpful or hurtful depending on the usage. Like nuclear technology, can be used to power the world or destroy it. We make that choice...
 
Going to try for a week, i can see my battery drain fast though..
 
My guess is that everyone on the planet earth has been tracked and probed without them knowing and now it is just getting easier to capture data because each individual is willingly, agreeing to give it through our modern day technology devices. Thanks for the share.
 
+Derek J Robinson people who complain about battery life remind me of those guys in the 1990s who complained that Microsoft Office took too much RAM or Hard Drive space. I've already solved that problem by buying a Mophie battery pack (three of them, actually).
 
Just got a popup saying:

"Sorry, Placeme requires Wifi to properly function, please ensure they are properly enabled."

Not sure if I like that since I typically use 3G.
 
+Chris Foley Many spin-offs that I could think of, including a really practical one: personal assistant integration (imagine you are stuck in traffic - Placeme knows it and can automatically trigger either a call, e-mail or SMS to whoever you are meeting with to let them know you will be late, or propose a rescheduling, etc.). Another one is insurance companies, another one auto shops (e.g. when you are due for an oil change push you a few deals), etc. It can give a wealth of information that can be leveraged (the click-through rate would be fantastic because the end-user is a "motivated buyer" for a certain service). Main thing is how to monetize this app in such a way that end-users won't be freaked about how the personal info that is collected about the end-user is shared with other third parties. I would be very weary about that...
 
I'm not ready to join +Robert Scoble and +Louis Gray on the other side of the freaky line, but there are clear benefits to gathering all of this personal data.

How many times have you seen an advertisement that is supposedly targeted toward you, but in reality does not interest you at all?

But if the advertisers got hold of your Placeme data, then the advertising wouldn't seem like advertising at all, because it would match your interests much more closely than present-day ads. Example:

"John, you've been shopping for your gasoline in Montclair, California a lot. Did you know that gas prices in Placentia, California are often cheaper? And since you're often in the Placentia area, why not stop at Jesse's Filling Staytion the next time you're running low on gas - which, if I'm calculating correctly, will be tomorrow morning?"
 
Just listened to part where it will predict patterns to provide data on traffic, fuel, etc. That's quite amazing.
 
+Peter Welpton so far it shortens my battery life somewhere around 15%. So, if your battery lasts until 11 p.m., now it'll die at about 7 p.m. But, to be honest, I'm not even sure anymore because I'm running a bunch of these apps, like Highlight, et al. I also have several Mophie packs, and keep my phone plugged into my car when I'm going around.
 
I am so totally waiting for this to be a part of the Daemon DarkNet. ;)
 
Definitely freaky. And promising. This app (and the services that can be built on it) will bring the whole “Quantified Self”/Lifestreaming stuff to people who are simply too lazy/busy to check in places and protocol their activities. A self-writing diary.

It also leads to Minority Report / Matrix / Greg Egan level questions about free will. In 20 years, the patterns tracked by PlaceMe should be good enough to program a robot that can live your life for you while you do something else... :)

Fascinating. Thank you!
 
I have Latitude and have been using it for years. I have location data on my for a long time back. This guy looks like he is finally doing what Google should have been doing all along with Latitude. Making my data useful to me, especially for transaction enhancement.
 
I wonder about batterylife. Running gps and wifi-scans on a regular basis should drain your phone pretty quickly.
 
+Robert Scoble +Gaurav Sharma This app can basically kill FourSquare very easily...not only that, if it gathers critical mass, it could be the next social app to be bought by Facebook ;-) Seriously, some of the data could be shared among your social net (but again, this increases a lot of the complexity of the app - need to set up rules, etc.).
 
+Rasmus Vibild no, it doesn't kill the battery and it doesn't matter. Go buy a Mophie pack if you want to live on this side of the freaky line!
 
"Over the freaky line" doesn't even begin to describe the potential for misuse such an app entails. Don't get me wrong, the premise is certainly interesting and enticing... but as someone who deeply values the ability to maintain #privacy (when I choose to), apps like Placeme and Highlight, frankly, scare the shit out of me. Just sayin'. :)
 
Very creepy and interesting at the same time...
 
Battery issue is where the problem is. I can accept the "creepy" concept but really am concerning the battery drain.
 
Taylor, don't install and keep your shit. :)
 
I am definitely trying the app. The freaky part doesn't bother me that much.
 
+Taylor Banks that's cool. THis app will pay many benefits to me. Here's another way to look at risk/benefit analysis. You drive, right? Did you know that 35,000 people get killed in cars every year in US. So, why do you drive if you are so freaked out by the risks in life?
 
Oh, and one other comment regarding having Placeme or not having Placeme. I don't want to go into details, but I've been following a murder investigation which partially relies on cell phone tracking - both the tracking of the deceased's cell phone (actually the presumed deceased - the body hasn't been found) and the tracking of the cell phone of one of the accused killers. You don't need Placeme to get that kind of data (although, of course, you can turn the phone off).
 
+Fengde Ma people who complain about battery life are just as lame as the people who said Microsoft Office takes too much hard drive space. That problem will be solved (and I already have solved it for me, by getting a Mophie pack).
 
While typing the above comment, I got a call from my wife, who commented that my daughter had observed some fast food bags in my car. This type of tracking did not require ANY 21st century technology... :)
 
This opens up a lot of possibilities and for the first time a 'personal assistant/wearable computing' will be a reality! As long as the data is private, I am fine. And I don't know why I like the founder quite a bit as he is honest and very technical - won't mind sharing my data with him :)
 
CIA will love to have one like this.
 
Only half way through listening to the interview and it's brilliantly funny.
 
I use foursquare, but this app looks like it takes checking in to a whole other level. I can see why people would be scared by the information that this app carries, but I can also see how amazing it is.
 
I have mixed feelings on this one. I can see the potential, but the dark side is ever present.
 
Jesus Christ! and that's saying a lot since I just realized I'm jewish. After the first shock about this app I can definitely say that it's very impressive. I've been waiting a long time for some sort of a big brother who'll give me information I really need based on information it collected about me - I'm just surprised facebook hasn't gotten to that sort of level yet, I really expected them to be the first to be able to give me essential information such as possible with this app, but I guess they are too scared from the public noise such a thing can create. I'm really looking forward on seeing how this develops and I wouldn't be surprised to see them purchased not too far down the road by Google itself.

Thanks for the review Robert.
 
I hope they make an API for this. I would love to make something that analyzes the data and provides readouts for users. Link this with purchasing habits and social networks and you could probably get some fascinating information on human behavior.

This is really cool, way more useful for me than Highlight, which I deleted.
 
Very cool, but I doubt it would work well on my myTouch3G, which can't run the latest version of maps well.
 
I'm glad (unlike Highlight) its available in the UK, so I'm jumping across the freaky line with you Robert ;)
 
Thank god I am stuck with a blackberry for another 7 months.
 
This has got to clobber battery life.. any stats on that? I spent hours turning stuff off to keep more battery time already ...
 
straddling the freaky line, never mine jumped over it. Although since I work at home and don't travel a lot I am not sure how interesting it will be.
 
The predictive part is most valuable, compared to ongoing logging / journaling of my activities. I dont care about what I have done so far, but I do care if this can show me how to do it better.

That is why combining this with Siri may be better than Google Glasses. Think Siri can proactively predict that your commute will take longer than average and it sends a late notice to the person you have a meeting with.

Also instead of using Siri in a pull model (as today), it can operate in a push mode. Think Siri popping up and proactively telling you to do things. For example: Right before I leave home, Siri speaks up and says "Dont forget to take your umbrella as it might rain later this evening on your way back"...

Love this stuff. Wish to see this become a platform.
 
Very cool concept. I'm actually more curious about the amount of data usage rather than battery usage. (Still kicking myself for giving up my "grandfathered" unlimited AT&T plan on the iPhone to save a few bucks.)
 
when it uses wlan and 3g ofcourse it eat your battery, hope so they can make it better and after 3 years for now, batteries are lot better than now (i hope)
 
Just jumped the line as well. Let's see how well it works in Sweden.
 
The concept is so simple yet the applications are far reaching. Companies will be lining up to buy them. Good job so far.
 
Freaky indeed. I hope they keep their data safe, just downloaded the app. I like that they don't want you to share your location or movements with anyone, but you can log it for yourself, and then benefit from the data you accumulate.
 
Imagine parents keeping track of their teenagers - especially those just learning to drive and those kids off to college for the first time.
 
I give this 20 seconds before it has governmental funding.
 
It's "Latitude" with Attitude.
 
All this data FOR WHAT? How does this benefit me?
 
This is retarded. One of the main reasons I hate using location apps is because they require gps to be on at all times, which drains your battery. This one requires wifi and gps to be on. No!
 
No thank you. Why oh why would you want to log your location on a constant basis for anyone to see? Also what are they doing with the data they collect? Too much collected and not enough disclosure.
 
Ok, I get the amazing things that can be built with this technology, but what value are they giving you right now with their app in exchange for all of this data about you.

Data about how long you spend in a store, what path you take through the store, and what departments you visit will be drooled over by retailers. Id be very surprised if they don't at least begin selling aggregate data. Data in aggregate is fine, but what value are you getting in exchange for giving them free data right now?
 
The funny thing is that I'm more worried about battery consumption than anything else ;)
 
I Dont want anyone to know where ive been ! it's my privacy so this is not only a NO but a HELL NO!
 
interesting. i'm not yet sure why i would want metrics on myself... i guess i'd have to keep playing with it.
 
Damn. Incompatible with my Android. I"m only running 2.1. Guess that's rather prehistoric in smartphone terms
 
targeted marketing heaven - not interruption - the ability to let people know about stuff they will want - not what the retailer would like them to want
 
Now I understand that "airplane mode" on my phone
 
As long as the data is private, I think it's a great idea. I've been living out of hotels and my car, and it could have helped me get back to the same Verizon store and Chase Bank (both of which I could not find, but I didn't even have my phone... stolen with my car). I trust Google (in Google We Trust), and I have a feeling these people can be trusted as well. Information is power, and when used for good, it is good for all. I think this is good. It could be used to save us time and money, and can be used for evidence for our protection (or against us if the police can easily access it).
 
I tried Highlight and found no use for it. Maybe I was just too early an early adopter?
 
+Robert Scoble, I think YOUR ideas are awesome. For now its pretty much a smart log keeping/monitoring app (place me). Mining this data, understanding it and taking actions like you said, recommend and/or steer you away from something, that what counts!
 
Fuck you google+ for showing me this idiots posts at all.
I WK
 
I don't think I would need this at all!
I WK
 
Google should invent the 1- Button ...
 
+Kurt Douglas Boyack , I thought your reply was definitely well written and insightful, but you made me laugh a little when you wrote "As long as the data is private". You're sharing all the data by very nature of the app, so it stopped being private the moment you installed it. Rather than the data remaining "private", we need to know how static that data will remain. Is the report that places you at the scene of a crime the certified, original data, or has it been doctored to make it look like you were there? I can see it saving money for law enforcement, and a fast-track set up to subpoena the data as evidence. I really like your optimism, though, and I hope things turn out more the way you see them.
 
heres a tip... don't come on here. if you don't like it, thats great, but stfu. and that is a complete invasion of privacy.
 
Don't want that data to fall in the wrong hands...
 
The digital assistant that will help you throughout your day. Just like the Maas-Neotek Colin unit Kumiko carried around in her pocket in Mona Lisa Overdrive.
 
+Todd Elliott You can turn off What's Hot posts in your main stream. It's not G+'s fault that you haven't.
 
11 min into the video & I'm stumped as to your enthusiasm
 
I'd let PlaceMe drain my battery and leverage the data for value-add services long before I hand over any more juice to Highlight.
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I wouldn't WANT this. It's the reason I stopped using FB and 4sq. I still like the illusion of privacy.
 
Really cool stuff. It is very exciting to know that we are finally moving away from the silly check-ins, which imo was the wrong implementation of location-based to begin with. That said, I think this concept is still too early. Majority of the internet population are still trying to wrap their heads around Facebook privacy issues :)
 
What a nice app for Intelligence Agencies to keep track of things in case they loose data :) You know, sometimes some agent can forget his laptop in a taxi. In that case, he can go back and get the history of all his targets. No harm done, He recovers the data online ... Ha ha ha.
 
This sounds fantastic...if you are some kind of nutjob sexpest! why on earth would you want to advertise how fast you are walking.. and apart from stalkers, who would care? what a waste of (what is already) limited battery life. Plus, how empty is your life if YOU get excited at being able to monitor where you live. FFS!!!
 
Conceptually awesome. But hell no I would not actively put this on my phone.
 
This App auto records where you are ,where you've been and for how long you were there. Too much private info being gathered on you.
 
+Robert Scoble So, I love their UI and how they are handling. Besides the record of where I have been, is the app supposed to do anything else at the moment or the very near future. I didn't catch that in the interview.
 
I can see this used on people that have to do timesheets at work, so they know you arrived at work at X, went to lunch at Y, got back at Z, etc.

Could also be useful in confirming alibis in court and such.
 
My attention span wasn't long enough to watch this!!!!!!!=o(
 
I am freaked out and scared, but I downloaded the placeme app to find out what it could learn about me. Knowledge is power! The more I know about how my habits are tracked, the more I will understand about how to throw off the analytics, whether I want to embrace the tech, or how ads will be targeted toward me.
 
Google Latitude, if activated, will already "learn" where you live and work and distinguish them from a general "away from home". And if you enable location history, they track enough to easily know your route to work, though they currently don't make use of it in that way. +Google could pretty much already do everything listed there with the data they have.
 
Feel like an automated timeline for me, no need to write a diary anymore :)
 
I will put that stuff on my dog ... I bet it will not understand if it's me or my dog carrying it ;o))
 
I'm astonished by the short-sightedness of people not seeing the potential in this. I never used location checkin services because well there's nothing in it for me. But using this sort of real life data mining you can literally investigate your real life activities quantitatively and optimize it!
Currently Google Maps & Latitude shows a glimpse of this with location history and it's amazing.
Anyone who thinks this can be monetized by showing you ads is just plain silly. Imagine the possibilities. You can simulate alternate lifestyle choices to pick the ideal for you.
 
I have been using this for less than an hour and cannot even start to twist my mind around the awesome implications.
 
This has potential, I'd like to see what's come of this in 6 months or so.
 
Wow, that's a lot of data! I'm very curious to see more of this project, and how they can use data like that. I'm starting my degree in Communication and informationtechnology this summer, and I hope to someday work with stuff exactly like this! Amazing possibilities!
 
I wouldn't mind landing a job at this place right now. Work my butt of for a year or two and then cash in a million dollars on this company's IPO / Buyout.
 
+Robert Scoble Doh, I totally did not think of that. Gonna check at once where I can buy spare batteries for my Nexus S (and preferably a charger that can manage standalone batteries). Cheers!
 
Sounds like another of the "trojan horse" app's from Big Brother...why would anybody want this on their phone?
 
no more excuses for my sedentary life...must account for my time...be productive...DO someTHING ! someWHERE ! with someONE! ...Can it recommend me to do something whenever I get idle for more than 30 minutes ?... Has Obamacare 'crats heard about this yet? ( I hope nobody tells them...!!)
 
Are you f***ing CRAZY?!! This is like Twitter x Facebook ... I mean everyone is ranting and gone mad (apparently) about Facebook (and other sites) tracking you and saving your identity, and now this!

Yeah you'd say you wont use or you can't "see" the user's info and keep his/her privacy intact - for now! Pretty sure after the app becomes popular and worth millions, the govt. will be right there checking on everyone!!

This is a perfect hook for phishing!! Thanks a Lot - NOT !!

P.S. Wonder if the app calls 911 everytime I ride the rollercoaster or bumpercars!! hahaha.... LOL
 
This is pretty crazy! I love data.
 
What is the name of that database that abstracts the notion of server? Firebase? Flierbase?
 
Having trouble getting your teenager to put down the phone?
 
can we choose to use our network data instead of wifi?
 
Nothing is free... As someone recently said you (and your behavior) are the product. What I envision is that such apps will be pre-loaded (perhaps in 'free' smartphones) and you will have to pay (or be unable) to turn off the 'service.' App developers looking to sell you out all in the name of $$$. No thank you... In addition to turning off the T.V., turn off your 'smart'phone.
 
wow, stalk much? This is waaaay past freaky. Great way for the US government and the Patriot Act to get everything they want.
 
Just don't let the Europian Union find out about this - lawsuit city. Seriously - privacy laws are horrible there already. Before using it I'd want to read their privacy policy and how I'm protected if they divulge my data.
 
I guess I just can't see the practical use of this. call it privacy or call it tunnelvision...
 
Next step is the ability to tie into your bank account and not only do they know where you go but what you buy. Of course they will entice you with some sort o coupons or discounts etc... but talk about some amazing targeted marketing. At some point the gas station a block down the road from where you normally buy gas could offer you a discount when you get in your car to drive to work, and possible know within 10% how much they will save you on gas and how many gallons you need to buy. Of course this would work with everything.
 
Nice interview, thanks Robert. This + bluetooth vital signs monitor + google glasses = freaky, not-so-distant, big data future!

Presumably Apple's already testing this sort of technology if that Knowledge Navigator video and the recent 'location scandal' is anything to go on.
 
the thing I love about scoble's journalistic style is just the authenticity of it. Its like reality tv meets tech blogging. A purely unadulterated, in- your-face interview with the CEO of a cutting edge start up followed by some post game analysis.

and Its not in some stuffy conference room in a rigid scripted format. No its at a fu@$%ng VC mansion party in silicon valley with random guys getting thrown out and awkwardly cute asian girls popping up out of nowhere ;) It adds some flavor to what might otherwise be just another bland news editorial.

I digress, As far as the actual app is concerned, I think it will be great for the quantifed self movement to empower the people (instead of just shady corporations) with this kind of broad ambient sensing technology. looks like the transparent era of Sousveillance is on the horizon...
 
checking this out, but geoloqi has been in this space for at least a year. Curious how they differ.
 
+Robert Scoble There is another app similar to this. but it does not focus only on location. I have used it for a little while and it also gives me the creepy feeling with the amount of data it collects, but the data is really useful. http://fridayed.com/
(I am not affiliated with them in any way)
 
So it's a free tracker.
 
I wonder if this will get government funding?
 
This is excellent and opens up so much potential for the future, not just what it can do today but in a few years time we will have so much built on this data.
Jay Tee
 
I pass....rather keep whatever privacy I have left from potential criminals.
 
+Robert Scoble "people who complain about battery life are just as lame...". Battery life on a smartphone is pathetic enough and while I might try this app out of curiosity, I'll be the first to turn it off if it noticeably drains the battery. What we need is more efficient software and battery technology. You might not think twice about adding a Mophie battery pack to your phone, but to most people that's about as graceful a solution as duct-taping a spare gas tank to the roof of a Porsche 911.
 
Why would you want this? I understand Google mine my data. However in return I get to use there awesome services. A fair trade in my opinion.

This app will leave me feeling dirty and abused!
 
GOOGLE TOOK MY DIRTY PICS AND POSTED THEM ALL OVER THE INTERWEBZ
 
Actually surprised this is just now becoming a reality. Seems as though this is something that should've existed 2 years ago. And I'm also jealous I didn't come up with this first... Can't wait until they can tell me what I'm thinking before I even know what I'm thinking.
 
I've decided to give this a go. I'm interested to see how it does in a more "rural" area like Prescott.
 
Well, why don't we all just get real freaky and cool about this. Oh, and don't forget to be amazed when your identity gets stolen.
 
Not a snowballs chance in a Cat scanner!!!
 
"but I figure it might just get me off a false accusation or something ;)"
I wonder why this thought never seems to make it into a TV or Movie show plot. We always tend to go to the negative, but I like the idea that I could have a digital alibi!
 
I like Manu Chao playing in the background, but can someone explain the usefulness of this besides letting them know everywhere your phone goes... I guess you being able to know where you go and how you go to places could help.. and future potential is there. I'll have a go and see.
 
Mmm I think the guy created the app and installed it secretly in his girlfriends phone.. There is google latitude already for some time and nobody uses it.. Why this?
 
With all of the various services running in the background, is this app a battery hog?
 
It could be sold to 3rd party retail outlets maybe?
 
This is going to be so great when I ride out to Sturgis in August
 
Robert, I just don't see any difference whatsoever between this and Google Latitude. They both even have the calendar. Why didn't Latitude "freak you out"?
 
A great seller for the jealous gf, cops,criminals, journalists, govt??
 
I feel like dancing on the freaky line. I'm in.
 
If you aren't in USA you can't install it...soo what is the advantage from tracks app for example. With that one you can install it even if you live in Siri Lanka.
 
Notable that when asked where to find him, Sam pointed to Alohar first and Placeme second. It seems like his genius is that over time lots of apps will to be collecting that "freaky" data, and if I have 5 or 6 (or 30) apps that are all collecting it and pushing it, well that spells problems with batteries, processor and sensor overload, heat, bandwidth cost, etc. And even if +Robert Scoble says we should just geek-up over batteries and carry extras, a mushrooming demand on now unused cycles during phone "downtime" could be a big issue.

But if many of those apps pay Alohar for access to his collection platform/api/whatever you call it, Alorhar rides the wave with a bunch of apps, not just is own Placeme. Smart guy, and not just on the engineering side.
 
I'm pretty sure the sheep won't be installing placeme, +Alicia Saporito . As for me, I figure it will either get me off a false accusation as someone said above, or better yet, maybe I can train it to get used to my 'normal' behavior, then use that as a a fool-proof template to give a co-conspirator (along with my phone) to alibi me, while I go off and commit all kinds of nefarious deeds.
 
We will look at the history of the internet commerce before and now after placeme... I'm sooo uncomfortable with the privacy but sooo seduced by having the ability to recall when and where I've been. The marketing potential is unbelievable. But privacy???
 
+Robert Scoble If it doesn't share your check-in then why is it a Foursquare killer? Most people use Foursquare to share their check-in to Facebook and their friends on Foursquare.

Can someone please give me one good use for this app?
 
Nothing about this app seems like a good idea. As for "the future", read 1984. That is the only potential future I see in this app.
 
Gee... and we worry about Facebook sharing our info...
 
And I wouldn't use the term "cool" about any part of it.
 
I want to get paid if you want to data mine me.
 
Wait until we develop a way to covertly (remotely) install this on people's devices. ;-)
 
Why would anyone want this information in someone else's hands? ... So I should rob their home when? ... Crime moves from the hands of thugs, into the hands of geeks.
 
Why does he have an Iphone and worked at google? fail.
 
Hey +Robert Scoble, do you know if it captures the details on your travels between points ( as well as the points themselves) like My Tracks does?
 
It does not know about where I am, it only knows where THE PHONE is.
 
And here is a cool tool for your medical aid company to see and monitor your health condition so if you clubbing to much they probably wont help you LoL... So cool what a bout the politicians they will then know exactly how much support they have and where they will spent there money. WoW!!!
 
also to-gather with google gogls you can add face detection (reconnection) and have a list of faces ready for you to meet on your trip along your day's time spend so that way you can walk into someone by accented preplanned every day WoW... cool privacy so the fact that google have to block out faces as they take photos on the street with street view. So I'd like to know how this will be handled.
Ro Ver
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+Robert Scoble If you honestly believe this amount of data farming is acceptable then I pity you
 
+Jimmy Connell Sam had an Android phone too on him. He also, in the interview, noted that he can do even more of this sensor capture on Android than on iPhone.
 
+Chris Thomson interesting. I mostly check in on Foursquare not to share that stuff publicly (although I really don't care that you see that I am at home now) but to see tips, and learn something about myself. This will be able to do that in even more granular detail. Plus, who said you won't be able to share some things out publicly from this app in the future?
 
+Andy Evans do you live in fear of driving too? Why not? 35,000 people die every year on the roads! I have yet to hear of more than 100 people dying because of, say, oversharing on Facebook or Twitter or even this app. Yet you are afraid. Says volumes about your ability to do a risk analysis of life.
 
I have no interest in this. I have a G+ account but I don't have a Facebook account. I try not to be data mined.
 
+Robert Scoble Most people use Foursquare to seek recommendations, share locations or find local discounts in restaurants (and become mayor of places). I don't think this app can do any of that (assumptions of future features don't count :P)

Anyway, I'll give it a go ;)
 
this guy and his company will own the world someday
 
No. No. No.
This is so wrong, I don't know where to begin...
 
maybe good to document some sort of travel/holiday.. but I don't see why people want their daily life recorded!
 
+Andy Evans it pretty clearly spelled out what the data would be used for -- building a new kind of business that gives us real time information about the world around us. It is completely over the freaky line. I have a lot more trust in this guy than the drunk drivers on the road, or the ones who are texting. 35,000 people die every year on the road. I still drive, even though my risks of being hurt or dying are much higher than using this app. Why are you still driving? It must suck being afraid of what your data will be used for.
 
+Paul Drake because you will get paid in the future to do that! Why? Because the system will tell you where to get better deals.
 
+Robert Scoble I see your point.. I guess it comes down to a trust relationship to opt in to something like this. I didn't see the impact on a phones battery either.. I'm guessing not good.
 
There's a lot I really don't like about this. It feels like a step too far. And the only benefits seem to be commercial ones.
 
I'm not even suggesting that it has been made with suspicious motives, I'm sure it has been created with positive intentions. It would just be very dangerous in less moral hands.
 
Crazy - a little too "1984" for me, but foursquare fans will probably love it. I could see strapping a phone to your kids - you'd never lose them!
 
This is crazy. I agree with +Christy Stevens in that it's a bit too 1984 for myself and I probably would never use it but i think the technology is pretty nifty. Its amazing how much data it collects and how it uses it.
 
Huh, I am smiling while looking at my cellphone.
 
+Robert Scoble This is just the kind of big-risk, small-benefit thing with your personal data that makes tin-foil-wearing conspiracy-theorists seem sane. My question is, how far do we rationalize towing the freaky line just out of convenience?
 
Funny this is getting buzz now, I tried this out in January.
 
I can see positives for mental disabilities for this app (Alzheimer's to where the HELL did I get drunk and leave my keys?!?!) as well as negatives (Minority Report?) It definitely spells the future! Amazing life you live, Mr. Scoble
 
Haven't checked it, but one to watch for sure, given that it's brazenly doing what we all know can be enormously valuable, for users and for the companies collecting this data. We want to give data as it helps craft valuable user experiences, and we want to allow the creators of those experiences to make money so they can continue to offer us those experiences. It's all about crafting the right kind of reciprocal relationship, something we're still figuring out as an industry. I think +Google is a leader here, doing all the right things and innovating even as we all learn together.
 
This is truly a window into a new age. Fast forward into the future. This reminds me of the Galaxians in Isaac Asimov's Foundation and/or the really big, fat people in Wall-E. One has to wonder how infantilised we want to become? He says it perfectly at 24:10: "I think it's pretty lame to require the user to open an app and look for things". There is this fascination and wonder to give up our decision making and curiosity to an artificial intelligence that decides for us. 24:20: "It just knows what you need in advance. Then it looks things for you." Why? Do we hate responsibility so much? Is our life so meaningless anymore?

Obviously privacy is important... but I don't think it's the core issue here. I think people are missing the bigger picture and getting sucked in this very, very enticing illusion that there is a machine that can now make decisions for us. Fast forward far into the future, put this * 100, and our life basically becomes "eat, drink, shit, procreate". Talk about becoming cattle...

Or am I wrong here, +Robert Scoble ?

On the flipside, it truly is amazing the potential this gives.
 
I was expecting the future to turn out more like the Matrix. I guess this will be the Mobile Matrix. :-)
 
I look forward to the day when we tell ideas like this to fuck off out of our lives.
 
For the personal use side, I see this as a HUGE opportunity to change my spending habits and have companies vie for my dollar. I'd love to see it prompt me to spend my money at a certain location from ads, coupons, loyal customer discounts while I am en route somewhere i.e cheaper gas stations or discounts on food.

Or how about this? I am out of town. I just got done eating dinner at a restaurant that was recommended to me based on the last time that I had that kind of cuisine. I was swayed there by a 15% off coupon. When I pay for dinner using my NFC equipped phone, it simultaneously hails a taxi for me.

For the practical use side, if I'm driving around and have some time to kill, it could recommend a park nearby that I could walk around until I had to be somewhere. That way I get some exercise in instead of hanging out at the coffee shop.

The only thing that I would ask is that the privacy side would have to be extremely granular. I would want all kinds of opt ins for what things I would be targeted for, and who would be able to see my specific habits/locations both friends and companies.

I'm going to download it and see where it (I?) go(es). If it gets out of hand I'll just delete it.
 
+Robert Scoble Looks like this is an app that was available for Android first that you love.
 
I think this is awesome. I would love to use this and see what I have been doing and where I have been. I have nothing to hide and if I where to lose something I would just pull out my phone and literally retrace my steps. If you get convicted of a crime here comes your phone to the rescue or your fall if you actually did a crime lol. This guy is going to make it far and a round of applause from me to him.
 
You don't have to watch all of this Video but... it is worth seeing a little just to learn how far this free little app can take your phone and you into the "All Knowing " future
 
Useless app. Serves only vanity.
 
Very interesting. I downloaded the app and started to set it up. Then I thought - what do I need this for? So I deleted it. maybe next time
 
how is this concept different to Google Latitude? Sounds like Latitude+ to me.
 
+Raj Thakkar Google Latitude doesn't collect as much data as this thing does. Also, Google Latitude doesn't show me a history of where I just was. Totally different.
 
Seems like, with Highlight and now this, the hot topic in the forthcoming months is going to be battery life..
 
Im looking for some friends to continue playing this game.
 
This is the future of discovery apps. I love it. These type of apps can predict what i need when I need it. There is a long way to go but the future is clear. With the right security and privacy in place this will be awesome.
 
The equivalent of being "chipped" at birth. Is this our future?
 
an additional point here is that the like og Google etc are already doing exercises like this with your data whether you like it or not so for those paranoids out there it is better to have services like this that make it clear what they do with your data. If you dont like it dont use it.
 
In the context of crowd sourcing as a transparency and reporting tool for developing nations, this app could do wonders.
 
+Zach Mellinger If you don't like these types of services dont use them. If you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.
 
Just in case you wake up with amnesia and want to know what and where you like. Just have to get past the "whose phone is this?" hurdle
 
" . . If you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about..." Define what is "wrong"
 
or if u wanna know what ur bf was doing lls
 
It's not that the video is over 32 minutes long. It's that the video is padded with 31 minutes of inane commentary by the guy holding the camera.
 
It seems that most of the significant, interesting data involves shopping and consuming. Seeing that you spent all day reading or being productive is boring, who will want to know about stuff like that?
 
+Daniel Vice The governments and corporations that will profit off of idiots freely giving up all information. I don't understand why anybody would want every aspect of their life tracked and recorded.
 
Just reading about it freaks me out, but the only real issue is that all the data gathering and computing is done by a third party. It is a matter of trust, (and government subpeonas).
 
Nothing new to see here. Google Latitude has had this ability for awhile. They aren't presenting the data in this detailed way, but they are recording your constant track and could easily extract the same data. Several years ago Eric Schmidt alluded to this being the future. Google just has to be careful about jumping in before people are ready for it, else they'll be publicly hung for invasion of privacy.
 
Think about this. While looking into tracking software laws and app laws, I found that there are no laws to protect you from the governments collecting this data. There are no laws set up that they need a warrant to access third party app or tracking software.
 
+Robert Le Blah sorry, Google Latitude isn't studying all the sensor data and isn't uploading it. If you have proof of that, please let me know. Governments around the world would go ape shit if Google were actually doing what this startup is doing.
 
+Daniel Vice and +Jason Death I want to track every bit of my life. That way I can learn from my own patterns. At least I'll be warned when there's cheaper gas just a mile away. As for studying when I'm just "being boring." That's important data too. It will help these systems predict when you will leave the house and do something interesting.
 
This is something Foursquare needs to have... as an option of course that people can enable/disable at any time.
 
Place Me app... I can imagine employers wanting this data to grill their employees (where have you been, what have you been doing?)
 
Thanks +Robert Scoble for your video report, gave me a feel for the app but also the thinking of the app developer - I am going to give it a try.
 
I have been trying it for over 24 hours now. It doesn't work. At least not for me. Recognized one spot, but doesn't recognize the same spot the next day. Didn't recognize my home address. Didn't recognize any of the other places I went.
 
This is crazy! The possibilities to utilize this data are endless and my mind is spinning! Key to usage is going to be getting over the privacy issues. People need to clearly understand and continue to see value in the app - and enough to get around that topic. Companies need to earn and keep consumer's trust if we're ever going to make progress.
 
+Justin Long I think he hit some scaling issues. I'm seeing the same thing all of a sudden too. I'm sure that will get fixed soon.
 
I'm using an app like that for a long time and it's called Google Latitude...
 
+Jakub Konecki Latitude doesn't do anything like this. I don't get why you guys keep saying it's the same.
 
+Reginald Watkins you may be right. I heard back from them just now after sending feedback re a missing place I had visited.

They said "We are working thru a huge backlog today while also adding more server capacity. Can you please try again tomorrow morning by visiting this day in your list or map view and then tapping refresh?"

The +Robert Scoble effect indeed :)
 
Was giving this a try, but after last update drained my battery by 30% over lunch, I'm going to go back to just using Google Latitude + 4square checkins to keep track of where I am. Good enough for me for now!
 
Some Android models have battery problems. What's your phone model? Also, the phone's screen burns the most power, so if your screen is on for a long time, it drains battery fast.
 
Might be my phone but this doesn't pick up any locations I hit in Dallas.
 
House arrest ankle bracelet integration, soon?
 
+Jared Chambers They're having performance issues because of the user signup storm (or so they told me in an e-mail). All your data should get queued up though, give it some time and see if it manages to pick up your places within 24h or so.
 
Some times technology is just plain dumb.
 
+Jeffrey Hamby said it: "The future of what exactly?"

This is simply real-time data aggregation of massive breadth and scale. Not to belittle the app, just saying that it is the same as before, only more.
 
This is awesome. Any way we could export data to Latitude?
 
Never understood why Google didn't take Latitude to the next level. I mean, Latitude also captures a lot of location data (lat/lng/speed/direction/.....), they have location history and location analysis through the dashboards, they have automatic checkins, they have integration with Checkins / Picasa / Places on Android that could all be linked to that location data.... And perhaps most importantly, they have an immediate free and substantial user-base.
 
Hi, I do not really get the hang of it. Seems to be unreliable so far. Maybe I do not use the app correctly.
I activated WiFi and GPS.

Is it also necessary to activate the data plan (Edge, 3G, 4G)?

The app doesn't give you a clue, but asks you to activate GPS and WiFi.
 
+Friedhelm Wulf Yes, you do need a "minimum monthly" data plan. Check out the FAQs in the app, under Settings. It explains why a data plan is needed.
 
Thanks +Kevin Dunseath . I have got a data plan, so it is principally no problem.
When you start the app you are explicitly asked to switch on WiFi and GPS. So I did. But I did not activate the 3G connection to save battery. Why don't tell that if that is needed, too? If the app only works having 3G activated they should indicate that too, because I assumed activating (WiFi and GPS) was everything needed to be done.

So it is necessary to activate WiFi, GPS and the 3G connection?
 
I guess they figure people will read the FAQs, though you are right, if they are going to tell you you need GPS and WiFi turned on when you start the app, why not mention the data plan as well? Sounds like good feedback to send via the feedback button.

The relevant Qs in the FAQs are:


What kind of smartphone does Placeme run on?

Placeme runs on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4s. iOS 5.01+ is required. Placeme also runs on popular Android phones. Android OS 2.2+ is required. Both a calling plan and a data plan is required for either iPhone or Android phones.

and


Why does my smartphone need to have a data plan to run Placeme?

Placeme does a lot of its magic in the cloud so the app needs to communicate with the Alohar servers when you're 'in the field'. Also, the map view requires an internet connection to serve you maps capable of zooming and panning. Good news is that only a minimum monthly data plan (e.g. Edge, 3G, 4G) is required and we have tested on ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
 
This is def the future of being "connected" and online persona. Matrix in the making...
 
+Robert Scoble I just got an email from Placeme explaining that this post caused delays for a few days. Capacity increased now. I guess this illustrates how Google+ is a ghost town and has no impact on the world, huh.
 
not a bad app but thanks to this post its been offline for days lol

all it does really is make a nice list of everywhere youve been. how many times you went there and how long you stayed

kinda cool i think
 
When looking at the video by +Robert Scoble in the post above, I got the impression that you'd get more info than just "auto check-ins" in the app. Like walking/driving routes you've taken etc.

This is obviously not the case. Are features like that planned or is it just a private auto-check-in app?
 
+Stefan Hållén I asked them by email about that, and was told, no, the routes feature is not in the app, but is in the sdk. I guess that means that if we want that feature, we need to build it ourselves!
 
So freaky.. Eagle Eyes? Should be used for personal only..
 
what about use with NFC on the Nexus, and the possibility of bank account data
 
well, at least this app tells you what it does, unlike many others.
There's another cool app out there, cluefulapp.com, which will give insights on what other iPhone apps do with your private data.

[btw, the only flaw I found in Place.me is the fact that some locations aren't very accurate, but I guess that's because of non-updated maps]
 
+Robert Scoble What kind of morphie packs are you using with your iPhone 5?  They don't have the cases out yet, or are you using a pre-release case?  :)
 
I have an external Mophie that I plug in to recharge. Waiting for the snap on cases.
 
That was really awesome!  What a great interview.

CALL APPLE, Rob!!  Make sure they buy this.  I love my iPhone.
 
This is what RMS has been warning about :)
 
What I want to know is, why does Sam shop at WalMart?
 
I have the app, but I don't see how to view my travels in a browser on my PC like in the video. How do I?
 
So. Nearly one year in. Love to to see an anniversary follow up episode. Maybe riff on the current state of presence relevance, context awareness, where Aloha is with PlaceMe and if no one's licensed their platform, why no one's crushed 4sq. or Path yet...
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