Google has launched a new app which lets your family and friends keep tabs on you at all times. That might sound scary, and not at all something you’d actively want, but Trusted Contacts is designed to keep you safe even when you’re walking home alone.
Trusted Contacts is a new personal safety app which essentially lets your loved ones watch over you like omnipotent beings. Once you have given them permission to do so, they will be able to see where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment.
You install the app, give your nearest and dearest “trusted” status, and then go about your business as normal. Under normal circumstances, your trusted contacts will know whether you’re active and have been recently, thus knowing at a glance that you’re safe and well.
However, there are other options too. If one of your trusted contacts is worried about you they can request to see your exact location. You can accept or deny the request, but if you don’t respond your location will be shared automatically in case you’re in trouble and need help.
You can also proactively share your location with your trusted contacts. This would enable one of your friends to walk you home virtually if, for example, you got stuck at work late. They could watch the app, keeping tabs on you to ensure you got home safe and sound.
A Potential for Misuse/Abuse
The aim here is, of course, to help keep people safe. However, people are bound to raise concerns over privacy and the potential for misuse/abuse. The key thing to remember is that you’re ultimately in control, so as long as you trust Google, everything else is in your hands.
You can stop sharing your location (leaving your trusted contacts only knowing whether or not you’re active) at any time. You can also change who your trusted contacts are, if a relationship ends, for example. However, if you remove your mom’s “trusted” status be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Trusted Contacts is available for Android right now. There’s no news yet on a version for iOS, but it should only be a matter of time before Trusted Contacts turns up on the App Store.
Are you likely to install Trusted Contacts? Do you think it’s a positive attempt to help keep people safe? Are you at all worried about the possibility of it being misused/abused? To who will you be giving the revered “trusted” status? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Garry Knight via Flickr