Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Apple Wants Your iPhone Location Data for a Crowdsourced Traffic App

From this article in Business Wire, Apple explains what all that location data people are freaked out about is good for:
8. What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.

There are a huge number of traffic oriented applications for smart phones. It is not at all clear that any of them will do anything to improve traffic at an individual or metropolitan level. Most of the apps just seem like applications that focus on traffic because that's where the data are, not because they are expected to actually be all that useful for users. Those that simply provide information seem like a nice convenience, but not necessarily substantial improvements to how we get around now or decide to travel.
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