If you want to know where your children, partner or friends are without having to ring them and check up, you can do it without having to revert to sneaky spy programs. Mobile phones continually broadcast their location and sophisticated tracking systems can allow you to see the location of a cell phone on Google Maps. You must have the other person's permission to track their phone. It is also a useful way to find a missing mobile.
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Go to the Google Latitude site (see Resources) and log in to your Google account. You will have a Google account if you use Google products like Gmail, Google Adsense, Blogger or other Google services. If you do not have a Google account you must sign up for one first.
Click the “Add Friends” button on the left of the screen and a pop-up screen will appear. In the first box select “All Contacts” from the drop-down menu then scroll through the list until you find the person whose phone you want to track. If that person is already using Latitude then there will be a blue icon next to their name. Click “Add” next to that friend. Alternatively you can enter a person’s email in the second box of the pop-up screen. When you have finished adding friends then hit the “Done” button at the bottom of the box. The friend(s) will receive an invite which they must accept before you can begin tracking their mobile phone.
Click the “Friends” button near the top of the Latitude page. A Google Map will show on the right of the page and your Latitude friends will show on the left. You can click on a Latitude friend to see where their mobile phone is on the Google Map. It will also show you how long it has been since the location information was last updated.
Tips and warnings
- Click on “View location history” then “Dashboard” to see where you have been and how far you have travelled. It will show the distance compared to a trip to the moon.
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