Benefits and Risks of Location-Based Services

Location-based services or LBS are a general class of computer program-level services used to include specific controls for location and time data as control features in computer programs. LBS are mostly used in Social Networking as an entertainment service, which is accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and which uses information on the geographical position of the mobile device.

LBS allow users to share their positions with other people by disclosing their own location, and very popular in social media networks such as Facebook, Foursquare and Google Latitude. Currently there are two primary mobile location tracking apps for devices – Google Latitude and Apple’s Find My Friends. Both allow  “friends” to track one’s position in real time. Each application in the same way at a high level, but with differing functions and features.

There are a number of benefits from using  location-based services . Some examples are:

Real estate marketing – alerts homebuyers about properties in area that meet their specifications.

Discounts and coupons – sends alerts to consumers who have opted in within a geographic radius

Keeping track of children and teens – parents can be alerted when kids leave or arrive at specified location, such as school , home or when teens are out partying with friends

However the privacy implications are significant in that other people might be able to track your position.

Location-based services have done a lot to improve our lives but people need to treat these applications with care. It’s important to understand what criminals can collect from where you are or not.