Huffpost Technology

Twitter Location Tool Exposes Your Whereabouts

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SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter can now let the world automatically know your whereabouts as well as your thoughts and activities.

A new feature unveiled Thursday gives Twitter users the option of including their location with the assorted musings posted on the Internet messaging service.

Locations won't be included unless users turn on the tracking tool. The technology, which shadows people through Web browsers, can be turned off at any time.

Twitter is responding to the growing popularity of other Internet services, such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, that broadcast people's locations. Facebook is expected to join the trend soon, too.

Many of Twitter's 73 million worldwide users already mention their location in their messages, or tweets. But that wastes precious space because tweets are limited to 140 characters.

Location sharing is becoming so prevalent that a Web site called Please Rob Me recently launched as a reminder that burglars can mine the information to help pinpoint places where nobody's home.

Twitter is advising its users to be careful about when and how they use the new location tool.

Persuading people to share their locations could help Internet services sell more advertising to companies looking to sell products and services in certain neighborhoods at a specific time.

Twitter's tracking tool is designed to work seamlessly with two Web browsers: Chrome and Firefox 3.5. The Internet Explorer browser requires downloading Google Inc.'s Gears software.

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