“IN 200 meters,” the Waze app on the phone said, “turn right.”
We were headed to Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and were near the Banilad flyover on our way to the IT Park when Waze, the driving application I was running on my phone, gave the direction to turn right.
Waze had determined, by going through its database of roads in Cebu and reports of traffic conditions sent in by users, that the quickest route for us was to go to that neighborhood behind Gaisano Country Mall, pass through Camp Lapu-Lapu and a small side road and emerge on our way up to the hotel.
Find My Friends uses global positioning system (GPS) to let people share their locations with friends. The locations of people are indicated by a tooltip on a satellite map. And since the app uses GPS, the locations are accurate up to several meters.
According to a post in a Mac website message board, a New York City man bought his wife a new iPhone 4S and installed Find My Friends without informing her. He said he had suspicions his wife was meeting a man who lived uptown. His suspicion was confirmed by Find My Friends, who showed her there. He then texted her to ask where she was and she answered that she was with friends in a completely different location.
He said he would be using the data he gathered to divorce his wife. “Thankfully, she’s the rich one,” he said.
There is no definite confirmation of the incident but the post shows the extent of location data gathered by consumer devices like smartphones.
When fire broke out in Barangay Tejero late Saturday afternoon, I was dragged to the scene by my wife, who wanted to cover it for her news blog and as trial for the system of Yahoo! Philippines’ foray into local news.
I can no longer recall the last time I covered a fire for news. But it was definitely before mobile Internet became as ubiquitous as it is today. I think it was also before I had a wife who would drag me to a fire scene.
Amid the panic of people trying to save what they could as they accounted for family members and friends, we posted updates through our phones, took photos and videos.
Saturday’s experience taught me a lot about the speed by which the technological juggernaut changes the way we do things, especially in reporting for a quickly-evolving online media landscape.