Navigating the Social Terrain with Google Latitude

TitleNavigating the Social Terrain with Google Latitude
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsPage, X. W., and A. Kobsa
Conference NameiConference 2010
Date PublishedFeb 306
Conference LocationUrbana-Champaign, IL
KeywordsGoogle Latitude,Location-based, Networking,Adoption,Social Norms,Symbolism,Mobile Devices, services,Facebook,Twitter,Instant Messaging,Social

Although researchers have been building location-based social services for some time now, sharing one’s location has only recently been introduced to the more general population. This paper examines real-world adoption of and resistance to Google Latitude, a social mobile-device application for people to share their locations. We report findings from an analysis of semistructured interviews with 21 participants using grounded theory. Our research reveals how interviewees perceive the social affordances of location-sharing applications to be conceptually intertwined with the conventions of other social networking and communication technologies; Our findings emphasize that many participants felt pressured to not only adopt social applications such as location-sharing, but also to be responsive and accessible at all times. Participants perceived technology-mediated social interactions (such as “friending” someone) as highly symbolic, and as problematic if they did not strictly adhere to the established social etiquette. We also found that participants’ perception of the social norms around using Latitude varied widely, affecting how and whether participants used the system.