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Google Touts Worker Tracking As Own CEO Goes MIA 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the coming-soon-to-a-boss-near-you dept.
theodp writes "On Thursday, Google announced a product that enables a business to see where all its workers are at all times. Called Maps Coordinate, it combines a paid-for business version of Google's standard maps product with an application downloaded to a worker's smartphone, creating a real-time record of worker locations. Ironically, Google touted its worker tracking solution on the very same day that CEO Larry Page was a surprise no-show at Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting, leaving Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to explain his absence. Schmidt explained that Page had lost his voice and, as a result, would likely also miss next week's I/O conference and possibly next month's quarterly earnings call. While a Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on Page's condition, Schmidt added that Page will continue as CEO while he recovers. So, why not reassure those worried about the situation by publicly tracking Page's location via Maps Coordinate? After all, Google's a true believer in eating its own dog food, right?"
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Google Touts Worker Tracking As Own CEO Goes MIA

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Russ1642 (1087959) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:02PM (#40415089)
    What kind of crap argument is that in the summary? Live tracking the CEO of Google because you're upset about your stocks. Genius.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:03PM (#40415101)

    Today they're tracking us during office hours, tomorrow they're tracking us after-hours. What's next?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:06PM (#40415147)
      Sunday.
    • by Jeng (926980) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:18PM (#40415325)

      Today they're tracking us during office hours, tomorrow they're tracking us after-hours. What's next?

      Hmm, perhaps

      Mandatory yearly physicals that only the company gets to see the results of.

      Pre-employment genetic testing.

      Employment termination due to not living in an approved community.

      Background checks of all family, friends, and neighbors.

      • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:58PM (#40415841)

        Today they're tracking us during office hours, tomorrow they're tracking us after-hours. What's next?

        Hmm, perhaps

        Mandatory yearly physicals that only the company gets to see the results of.

        Pre-employment genetic testing.

        Employment termination due to not living in an approved community.

        Background checks of all family, friends, and neighbors.

        Oh, so you want to work in the Defense industry?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

      Today they're tracking us during office hours, tomorrow they're tracking us after-hours. What's next?

      Returning to civilized society?
      As in switching your work phone on when you get to work, and switching it off when you leave work. That's what I do, because (i) the company's time is 37½ hours per week for 45 weeks of the year [minus a few statutory holidays], with all other time being my own, and (ii) nobody pays me to be "on-call" or available outside work hours, and an offer would have to be very attractive to get me to consent to such an arrangement. If any tracking application is on it, I can onl

      • neither is mine, but it makes you wonder about those who are general lackeys. i mean, if you care about other people that is. aw who am i kidding
      • by P-niiice (1703362)
        If you're not upper-level management, you're a lackey.
      • by Artraze (600366) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:56PM (#40415807)

        I find it funny how "civilized society" to you means telling your employer to go pound sand if it's not precisely the time you're supposed to be in the building.
        For me civilized is taking the occasional off-hours call in exchange for my employer allowing allowing me take an occasional (and, indeed, quite more frequent) bit of person time during work. Like reading and posting on slashdot, for instance. You know, like you're doing during these (ostensibly) business hours.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:35PM (#40415537)
      Getting your friends and acquaintances to track you. Oh, wait! That's Facebook.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Requiring employees to demonstrate that they don't ingest particular mind-altering substances in their spare time as a condition of their employment?

      (Full disclosure: I don't use drugs, but I think it's completely inappropriate that employers test for them.)

      • Even more hysterical is that said drug-testing is often inversely proportional to the level of responsibility and ability for said applicant to fuck shit up royally.

        The kid restocking the fucking bandages and shit at the local hospital has to submit a hair test to make sure he's not a junkie, but nurses tending to the sick just breeze right through the application process as long as they've got their certifications. I guess people just can't be drug addicts anymore once they get a degree or something.

        • by JonySuede (1908576) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:16PM (#40416707) Journal

          I guess people just can't be drug addicts anymore once they get a degree or something.

          It is worse than the, you are actually authorized to become one if you have the right job, I was missing my 20's legendary concentration ability, I talked to that to my company doctor and came out whit a prescription for 720 pills of 30mg dextroamphetamine-levolysinate. I am starting my seconds year on that, here are the effect I benefited from: a toned musculature, ripped abs, excellent cholesterol level and excellent energy(d'uh), stopped cannabis abuse, and yeah!, my concentration is back to a level I never experienced. However I am now addicted and if I forgot to take my pills I feel slow as fuck, to the point of being a borderline retard, and I am extremely irritable.

          I also have a relative, a wood worker, who takes street amphetamine for the same purpose, he do not takes more than half a pills a day and it enable him to stay focused. He is also addicted.

          Can someone tell me why my addiction is legally and socially acceptable but his is not ?

  • by javajawa (126489) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:04PM (#40415131) Homepage
    Really don't see how corporate tracking of employees suddenly becomes an expectation of publicly tracking an executive.
    • by Andy Dodd (701) <.ude.llenroc. .ta. .7dta.> on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:12PM (#40415247) Homepage

      I agree. The description makes it sound like CEO caught a cold that included laryngitis... Seriously, that's not worthy of telling the whole goddamn planet where he is.

      In a world where much work is done at a computer, it's pretty easy to continue as CEO of a company (especially one as tech-oriented as Google) but not be able to participate in a public speaking engagement due to laryngitis.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        In a world where much work is done at a computer, it's pretty easy to continue as CEO of a company (especially one as tech-oriented as Google) but not be able to participate in a public speaking engagement due to laryngitis.

        Yes it is pretty easy. Its really strange to suggest, today that he might miss the share holder conference more than a week from now though. That is long time to be too sick with a cold virus to participate in what is probably the CEO's most visible event all year. It almost looks like they are trying to manage expectations, which could indicate something is more deeply wrong than him just being out sick today.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Even executives are employees, but yes this is only for when you are at work. Once you are off the clock, turn off the program and you are no longer tracked.

    • Good luck with any company trying to track it. In fact my phone is so old, it has an analog transceiver for use on old networks (like rural Wyoming). So I don't care if my company TRIES to track me; they will fail.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:06PM (#40415153) Homepage

    it combines a paid-for business version of Google's standard maps product with an application downloaded to a worker's smartphone, creating a real-time record of worker locations

    No. A thousand times no.

    I can't believe people would be willing to do this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's no different than companies tracking workers who drive company-owned vehicles. There are many legitimate reasons to do this. Companies that do repair household appliance repair, or telecom technicians are tracked in order to give customers updated time estimates of when the employee will arrive.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Russ1642 (1087959) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:10PM (#40415209)
      Many companies already do this. It's to track work crews for things like utility repairs, on-site troubleshooting, etc. It helps with scheduling and knowing who's close by when the next call comes in. There are plenty of 3rd party software packages that do this but when Google gets into the mix suddenly it's all 1984.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:14PM (#40415275) Homepage

        when Google gets into the mix suddenly it's all 1984

        No, because once the technology is available, some asshole at the C level will decide that all employees need to install this on their phone. Even if is a privately owned phone.

        I don't want the government tracking where I am. I don't want my employer tracking where I am. I don't want Google tracking where I am. As soon as one of them has it, the rest of them will want access to the information.

        But you're right, it sure as hell is 1984 ... once people start doing this, there's all sorts of ways it gets abused or suffers from scope creep.

        Eventually it becomes a condition of employment, or any number of things. Categorically, DO NOT WANT.

        • by WilyCoder (736280)

          If that scenario ever came to light I would make it my life goal to hack that tracking functionality.

          A digital, freedom-fighter kind of hacking...

          I'm dead serious.

          People are so scared of technology being used to track everyone, and rightfully so.

          But can' technology ALSO be used to UN-track people?

          Just look at tor and bitcoin as embryonic examples of what I am trying to get at...

          • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

            by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:47PM (#40415695) Homepage

            If that scenario ever came to light I would make it my life goal to hack that tracking functionality.

            A digital, freedom-fighter kind of hacking...

            How about just a "Leaving your phone on your desk" kind of hacking?

            Or would that not be exciting and edgy enough?

            • Strap it to a squirrel.

              Or a Cessna.

              Got access to a submersible?


              Oh, the places you'll go...
          • But can' technology ALSO be used to UN-track people?

            Like, leaving my tracked cell-phone at my workdesk, but having the calls forwarded to my untracked personal phone at the location of my chosing?

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          when Google gets into the mix suddenly it's all 1984

          No, because once the technology is available, some asshole at the C level will decide that all employees need to install this on their phone.

          The technology has been available for years, yet few employers use it:

          http://us.blackberry.com/smartphones/features/gps.jsp [blackberry.com]

          Even if is a privately owned phone.

          I don't want the government tracking where I am.

          Too late, as long as your phone is powered on, the government can track you. No software needed.

          • Pretty sure they at least need the software that talks to the cell towers....

            • by hawguy (1600213)

              Pretty sure they at least need the software that talks to the cell towers....

              It's hardly a cell phone if it has no software to talk to cell towers, that device would be more appropriately called a "brick".

        • But you're right, it sure as hell is 1984

          28 years late... 1984 was a cautionary dystopia, and also basically unavoidable after things like electronic transmission of sound and picture started developing. If you don't like the monitored life in Western cities, there's still 99% of the planet surface that's not covered by high resolution cameras 24/7, for now.

          Also, carrying a cellphone is still optional to the vast majority of humans on the planet - most people choose to, benefits outweighing the costs.

          If you don't like working a tracked job, don't

        • by houghi (78078)

          It also is 1984, because Google has the data AND the technology to cross reference.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:18PM (#40415337)

        Or, more importantly, tracking important shipments and the drivers who are tasked with delivering them. It goes from being able to provide excellent service (Bill is exactly 67 miles from your office) to knowing where it is when it has been high-jacked. This is going to replace a lot of homegrown stuff.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      it combines a paid-for business version of Google's standard maps product with an application downloaded to a worker's smartphone, creating a real-time record of worker locations

      Not to MY smartphone.

    • Well, maybe if I could be assured that it was only on company time and wouldn't be used for an unreasonable level of micromanagement. However, we all should know by now that many employers won't stop there, and will insist on the ability to track you on your off-hours as well. It'll be the Facebook password fiasco all over again.

      Employees are people that you pay in return for services rendered. They aren't property.

    • by IorDMUX (870522)

      I can't believe people would be willing to do this.

      I can think of plenty of industries where this is already done to some degree -- a Google maps integration would likely only help things. A few examples:

      National Park Service rangers (often using radios, at the moment)
      The trucking/shipping industry (OmniTRACS and the like)
      Utility work (dunno... GPS?)
      Large scale mining/quarry/construction work (again, radios)
      Medical, security, and service at amusement parks (again, radios -- I've done this, it's pretty important to be able to know where person X or the guy
  • Everyone knows Larry Page has no respect for personal boundaries but the programmers at Google disappoint me for enabling his relentless pursuit of killing privacy.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:18PM (#40415327)

      they turn a blind eye.

      treat them like primadonnas, give them free lunch and fancy perks and they'll turn a blind eye.

      seriously. its easy to convince kids (most are kids, lets be honest) to ignore long-term ethical considerations when , OOH SHINEY! is given to them, again and again.

      • Reminds me of a project about 70 years ago. Even adults ignored long-term ethical considerations, until way too late.

        What was it called? The Long Island Project? No. The Brooklyn Project? No. Something...

        • by Jeng (926980)

          So what exactly are the long-term ethical considerations one should have regarding a weapon that is too terrible for it to ever be used on a large scale? It's the small scale, easy to use weapons such as the AK-47 and land mines that are the least ethical.

          The Manhattan Project invented the Best Boogeyman EVER!!

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Google's unofficial motto.

      Information wants to be collated and sold!

  • Soulskill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:07PM (#40415177) Homepage

    Leave it to Soulskill to post this crap. Time to block the editor again eh? Sad how low the standards have gotten here.

  • This will be popular until some corporate CEO's wife finds out where said CEO was during "lunch".

  • by unassimilatible (225662) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:15PM (#40415289) Journal
    So, why not reassure those worried about the situation by publicly tracking Page's location via Maps Coordinate?

    Uh, because there would be no point? What does the CEO's location have to do with stock performance?

    And I'm no Google fan (I'm an Apple stockholder), but there are obviously some security issues involving the whereabouts of a famous billionaire CEO (e.g., kidnap and ransom?) that don't apply to the rank-and-file employee.
  • by mindmaster064 (690036) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:15PM (#40415295) Homepage
    There probably was a time when Google was a beneficent geek Mecca but it has morphed into a tyrannical beast. Apple and Google both make my list of disappointing companies whom have decided to use their new found power for evil. Everything Google has been doing has been concerned with undermining privacy or stifling innovation and frankly other than being forced to YouTube (for lack of alternates) I won't have anything to do with their products personally. It's time to let these power hungry money grubbing shitheads die -- they are not what they sold us in the beginning anymore.
    • by hackula (2596247)
      ...Sounds like a regular old company to me
    • by geek (5680) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:27PM (#40415437) Homepage

      I too have issues with Google but this "story" isn't one of them.

      Regardless, what are alternatives? I can't even pay for products that equal googles. I've actively looked for services as good as theirs that I can pay for and not be tracked or sold to the highest bidder. I have yet to find decent replacements to gmail, google maps, docs and search. I did switch my email over to an iCloud account since I have an iPhone and a Mac anyway but still, Apple isn't the most moral company either.

      I've considered running my own services and may very well end up doing so soon. I'd rather pay someone decent though and not trouble myself with the admin overhead. I get enough of it at work, I don't need it at home too.

      • I think the real dilemma is the psyche of the average consumer. Let's face it how many people need a cloud? It's a luxury that you're getting by subsidizing various evil empires. It's not always what you get, but rather what you endorse. I rather give an ethical company with less service the same money for a reduced service than give a corrupt one anything. Amazon provides these same services for most uses and I don't feel morally complicated by using them. They do not profit by me viewing ads or leaking my
      • by jmerlin (1010641)
        Well one problem is that they have an "apps for business" and they specifically market to businesses, but they offer no business features. For instance, not having the software change on you. It's not a business feature for software to significantly change over-night requiring re-training of employees. That's a reason not to buy/use software, if anything. For that reason, almost any other service is better than any of their apps. How would you like it if your SQL db automatically updated itself and bro
  • by Simulant (528590)
    Borders on evil.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:26PM (#40415419)
    Perhaps it's just me, but when I'm not at work, or traveling for work, it's none of my company's fucking business where I am.
    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      That may be true, but unless and until there is a law protecting your privacy in a meaningful way, your opinion on what is and is not any of your employer's business is irrelevant. They can get the data, so all they need is a motive.
  • 1) Do not give workers cell phones and do not track them

    2) Do give workers cell phones and do not track them.

    3) Do give workers cell phones and do track them.

    4) Do not give workers cell phones and do track them.

    In any of these cases, employees can "Opt Out" (quit). Even a 10% quit rate would probably cause a company to rethink its strategy. The question is, are 10 percent more likely to quit over not being given a phone, or for being tracked? At our company, we give the staff cell phones but only track tr

  • Google Employee #1(Joe): Bob, we have this product that enables a business to see where all its workers are at all times.

    Google Employee #2(Bob): But isn't our motto 'Do no Evil'?

    Joe: Bob, does your wife know where you were last night? We do Bob, WE do.

  • Think of all the economic activity this will generate: Blackmail - "Hey, Mr. CEO, I wonder if your wife knows you were at that leather bar at 10:40pm last night."
    Industrial espionage - "The CEO was tracked to the headquarters of a certain component supplier. Could this mean an entry into a certain hardware market?"
    Kidnapping - no. That's not even close to a joke. It happens.
    Assault - "Today, protesters hounding a CEO turned violent as they cornered him at a local coffee shop..."

    Yeah, I think it's best

  • Frequently encountered on my samsung epic galaxy using GPS applications.

    It (and the iphone before it) show me thousands of feet or even miles away from where I really am a few times a week.

    Solution is GPS Status (reset GPS, download a tiny file).

    But at least twice a month that doesn't work and i have to REBOOT the damn phone.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:39PM (#40416295) Homepage

    Isn't there an Android app that is a copy of Stephen Hawking's voice?

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:29PM (#40416803) Homepage Journal
    Oh, here's your problem, when you Google "Larry Page's Voice" you get all these crap news articles about how Larry Page lost his voice, not where he might find it again. I assume he looked in all the usual places; the car, under the couch in the employee break room. Maybe he should implement GPS tracking for his voice in case this happens again.

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