Why Smart Phones Aren't - Reason #2

I ride public transit, a lot. This gives me the "privilege" to (too often) overhear important matters that are being discussed over the phone.

Can you guess the most common use case for "smart" phones? Apparently it's to obtain the answer to the world's most important question: "Where are you?"

Really? We can send a rover to Mars but we can't solve this problem. Is the world engaged in one giant game of "where's Waldo?" I have yet to meet a phone that is smart.

Phones have GPS, wifi, and of course cellular signalling. They also are programmable. One would think that an off-the-shelf "smart" phone would eliminate the "Where are you?" call once and for all. Or, could it be that the mobile carriers love to prey on people by forcing them to consume and be billed for lots and lots of extraneous voice minutes? Hmm...

So, I'm sorry phones. You are *not* smart. You are still as dumb as the first feature phones.

I remain optimistic that the Ubuntu Phone will overcome this issue. In my lifetime, I hope to be riding a bus, a subway, or a streetcar never to hear the words "Where are you?" uttered again.

"Where's Waldo" image by William Murphy


WhatsApp does precisely this. Share -> My location. Bam. Done. Move along.


Yes, but I'm advocating this be part of the base feature set and tightly integrated with the phone. For example, upon receiving an inbound voice call, I should be presented with a option to "answer with location", then after the location has been sent, the call is allowed through.


I don't think its good neither wanted to be able to locate everybody everywhere. Maybe I'm a pessimist, but today we are reachable enough and to be frank: I can ignore my phone and if somebody wants to meet me, he/she is free to SMS me and I'll react.

So my phone is smart enougth...


That was my exact first thought, but then I realized it did not have to be like that.

For example, you could have something along the lines of "share my location with this person for 10/30/60 minutes", and then when it expired they would not have that info.

Also, the third party should be able to request your location (i.e. a "Where is this guy?" button) to which you confirm or deny.


Right now, the only one who knows where you are at all times are: your phone company, law enforcement, and the NSA. Why give away those rights to strangers but not let our friends and family have the same data?

We (the owners of the phone and our data) should get to choose who knows and who doesn't. Respect.


> We (the owners of the phone and our data) should get to choose who knows and who doesn't. Respect.

I actually agree with that single sentence.

And I'd personally choose that **nobody** should know where I am, without asking me first. That includes my phone company, law enforcement, and the NSA.


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