Technology.am (Apr. 15, 2009) — AT&T has launched a new service that allows family members using the same cell phone account to track one another’s whereabouts.
This service of AT&T is called FamilyMaps, allowing people to track the location of any cell phone on its network from a mobile phone or PC. The person being tracked receives a text message informing him or her that he or she is being tracked. The service periodically informs the tracked individual that he or she is being watched, just in case one text message reminder wasn’t enough.
Users of this service can either track someone in real time by viewing the location on a map or they can set up the service to send them text message alerts or e-mails with location information.
But users can only track phones that are part of their family plans. It means that stalkers looking to keep tabs on their old flames won’t simply be able to type in their ex-lover’s phone numbers and start tracking.
The service uses satellite GPS technology and cell tower triangulation to pin-point the location of the phone. The service is not supported on prepaid or AT&T Go Phones. And the service costs $9.99 for two phones and $14.99 for up to five phones.
Location-based services are nothing new. Most major mobile operators are already offering some kind of location-based service. What’s different about these social-networking location services from the service AT&T is offering is that these other services often require those being “tracked” to also run the application on their phones. These services also typically have privacy settings controlled by the person being tracked that allows him or her to turn off their “friend-finding beacon” and to hide from certain individuals.