Plenty of hay has been made over which apps and cell phones track our movements, but so far it has been difficult to accurately determine where we're going next -- people can be unpredictable, after all, and make dinner plans at random new places on a whim. In that case, what's a prediction algorithm to do?
Location-aware apps are pretty prevalent on most smartphones — some help you find your friends, others can help you find your phone if it’s lost, and so on. So the news that Amazon has patented a new location-tracking software system isn’t a big deal. Until you notice that it’s also a location-predicting system. Amazon wants the ability to not only track where you’ve been and where you are, but where you might go next, to better target ads and messages that would show up on your mobile device.
British security researchers have figured out that iPhones keep track of where their owners go, saving data to the device and uploading it to a user’s computer when the phone is synced with iTunes. The data includes the phone’s latitude and longitude and is timestamped to the second, all of which is recorded in a hidden file--which is very much not secure.
Our GPS-wielding smartphones have made it somewhat difficult to get lost, say, on the way to the museum. But if you’re waiting for the day your phone will also help you navigate to a specific painting once you’re inside, you might be waiting a while. The technology exists, but no single version is perfect. And a lack of a standout Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) technology means there is no broad agreement on which technology should become the new standard.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.