Google is going ga-ga for location--locating you, telling folks where you are and broadcasting your whereabouts to people in your network.
Traditionally, three items make a trend, but why wait? Google is telegraphing that its future tools are all about location.
The latest: Google said Wednesday that Gmail can now use your IP address to tell folks where you are on any given day. That way folks won't need an out of office message--they'll just see you're in SFO or the Philly airport or at some meeting in Boston.
Google software engineer Marco Bonechi said in a blog post:
Sometime ago I noticed how all mail systems tell you when an email was written, but not where it was sent from. Because I love to travel, the first question in many messages I receive is "where are you?" and by the time I answer I am often somewhere else. So in my 20% time, I wrote an experimental Gmail Labs feature that detects your location and appends the city region and country names to your signature.
That's a neat feature and could come in handy if I disappeared and Gmail led the authorities to my last location. Other than that possibility the signature could be seen as a little off-kilter.
Sure it's not as bad as Google Latitude, which allows you to be tracked by your location. That feature could also be handy, but it's also creepy.
Add it up and Google is clearly big on the location thing. Google wants to know where you are and share it. Wait a week and Google will launch another location-based service. Clearly, Google is all about location, location, location these days.