Tech Check: Apple buys app that tracks your movement indoors

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by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 10:52 AM

HOUSTON -- Most apps cost about 99 cents right? Not one recently purchased by Apple: it cost them $20 million.

WiFiSLAM is an indoor position system app that tracks your every move within a building with accuracy down to about eight feet. It uses WiFi (or wireless network) signals around you to track your location when you’re out of sight of the standard global position system satellites up in space.

Ideally, tech like this could be used by malls to direct you to your desired store and/or pop up alerts when you’re near a business with a special deal. It could also be used for social networking, showing you exactly where your friends are on a map.

The technology itself really isn’t anything new. Similar apps include Navi Indoors, which works on Android devices. They have a demo video of a user walking around a mall, with the phone pointing them to nearby stores.

We’ll just have to wait and see what Apple’s plans for the technology are. Even WiFiSLAM’s official website went offline soon after the Apple purchase was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Apple hasn’t said what they’ll use it for, but privacy advocates are already keeping an eye on things. Obviously whatever the offering is, those concerned about it can opt-out just by disabled their device’s WiFi.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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