Placeme is the app that remembers every place you visit without having to check-in. It was developed by Alohar Mobile – the company that offers an ambient location platform for mobile app developers that automatically understands a mobile user’s behavior by analyzing the data collected using persistent sensing technology with long battery life.
Placeme works by accessing all your smartphone’s sensors to track your location, activities and environment. The app also learns stuff about you as it records your activities or the places you go to. As you continuously use the app, it can make recommendations like alternate driving routes or cheaper price of things.
All you need to do is download the app, it’s free for both Android and iOS, and just let it run on the background. But of course there are a few requirements for you to be able to use the app.
- It’s compatible for use with an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4s running the iOS 5 and smartphones with Android OS 2.2 or higher installed;
- It needs GPS and WiFi to work, GPS is for fine location and Wifi is for coarse location;
- It’s cloud-based so it needs an internet connection so it requires a monthly data plan (e.g. Edge, 3G, 4G); works well on ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Since Placeme curates all your activities and places you go to, people are concerned that it might violate their privacy, but Alohar assures users that none of your data will be broadcast, and it is encrypted.
Location-based apps like Placeme can be used by advertising agencies to deliver more targeted ads in the future based on your location or activity. Though this might sound great as it eliminates ads that don’t really interest you, it might irk some users, knowing that someone monitors where they are or what they’re doing.
This app actually made me think about Google’s patent application for environment-based ads. I’m just wondering, why are companies pushing for things that acquire people’s location?
It’s all about the contextualization of personal data, and it’s an unavoidable aspect of the future. Data is being collected directly and indirectly, with manual user input as well as inferred activity based on things like your location and past purchases. What this discussion boils down to is how our personal data is being used for business purposes, as well as the ways it’s being used for individual use cases. Placeme seems to be straddling the consumer and business side of things, looking to provide data integration with other apps, and in turn delivering that data back to the user for practical use.
But the privacy discussion won’t go anywhere, and it shouldn’t. As apps such as Placeme pop up on the scene, it’s important that they keep user privacy in mind, and set up the proper controls to maintain user privacy at all times. Finding a way to comfortably deliver data back to the user is what will help in the long run, prompting user adoption instead of curbing it.