Placeme, the tracker of the universe and everything in it, is the smartphone assistant from beyond
Placeme for the iOS and Android platform is quite possibly both the scariest and awe-inspiringly futuristic smartphone app I’ve laid my eyes upon to date. The freeware uses every single sensor in your device to track all of your activities and your location and environment. There’s no trace of the process of checking in or any other action you need to take; Placeme, built by Alohar Mobile, simply records everything in the background, so you never have to see it in action. And that creates the fullest set of personalized data I can think of: Placeme is an absolute personal tracking solution and the ultimate in its field.
Robert Scoble recently posted up this 32-minute video with Alohar Mobile’s Placeme’s founder, Sam Liang. The aim was to get a complete description of the weirdly cool application. I advise that you watch the entire conversation but if you want to skip to between the 2nd and 3rd minutes, you’ll see Liang show you where he’s been and what he’s done for the past day or so, and demonstrate how it was all captured automatically by Placeme.
(For the video, copy and paste the link in your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=n1qDYSCONyg)s
The scariest part, is that the app essentially learns everything about you: Where you buy your groceries, your route to work, the people you visit, heck even where you pull over for mere seconds! Liang says the data isn’t shared or broadcast and that it’s securely encrypted. Without question, this may be the most pervasive type of mobile software that we’ve ever seen, yet I’m inclined to agree with Scoble when he says this is the future for us to see. Whether we like it or not, the world is fundamentally changing due to the Internet and our ability to share information completely easily and seamlessly.
If you find it in yourself to look past this change, there is definite potential for a treasure trove of useful information. Liang mentions that the app could check your route home from work in advance to check for traffic or situations that might arise. Or perhaps it can alert you that another petrol station nearby has cheaper petrol than the station you just pulled into (as I mentioned earlier, mere seconds!). When the phone keeps this type of history, it can truly accumulate a whole heap of knowledge and become an intelligent personal assistant.
Over time, I think people will be willing to give up their privacy for this kind of help; especially with the younger generation that is growing up with smartphones, tablets and location-based apps. The younger generation just don’t have the same comprehension of privacy the way us ….slightly… older ones do. Like Scoble, I’m a sucker for anything that brings the future closer to me today, so I’ve installed Placeme for now to see exactly what my phone can learn about me. After all, the future is an unstoppable force am I right?