Google introduced Coordinate service for managing mobile workers

Original author: Frederic LARDINOIS
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Geolocation-based applications and services, such as Foursquare, have gained significant popularity over the past few years, but most of the latest developments in the field of geolocation applications have bypassed the business sphere. Although there are several services now that allow employers to track the movements of their employees, they are usually proprietary and very expensive. Today, Google is trying to enter the business market using Google Maps Coordinate , combining Google maps and a geolocation service with an API and a dispatch system to coordinate employees. This service is available both in the web version and in the version for Android phones and tablets. According to Google, the system will allow organizations to more efficiently issue work assignments and distribute their staff.

In essence, Coordinate allows companies to remotely manage their mobile employees and track their movements, whether it’s truckers or taxi drivers, plumbers or pizza delivery couriers. Google tested this service inside their own shipping service.

Dan Chu, the Coordinate product manager at Google, who interviewed last week from his office in Sydney, said that the idea for creating this system came from Google’s corporate clients who already used the company's mapping services, but were looking for an easy, ready-made way Organize your mobile employees. During development, the team focused on making the service as flexible as possible. Large companies will be able to bind Coordinate to their existing systems using an API that gives full access to read and write data, and small enterprises will be able to use the system without the need for any major investment.

Customers will also be able to upload large amounts of data with their points to the service. Utilities, for example, can enter information on the location of all electric poles in the area they serve.

As Chu noted, Google has invested a lot in its maps and geolocation services, but now for the first time the company really applies all this experience in working on a business-oriented application.

On the dispatch page, the administrator can see where his employees are and send them to the next destination. Employees on the map are indicated by blue dots. In order to create an account for a new employee, you need to make just a few clicks of the mouse. Creating new jobs is also done in a few simple steps.

On the other hand, employees who are out of the office, with the help of their telephones, receive new tasks for work and send to the dispatcher reports on completed tasks. There is also the possibility of affixing marks with which the employee can confirm that he has arrived at the appointed place. For example, this allows the employer to take away the time spent on the journey to the place from the time it took to complete the work itself. The system also allows administrators to set certain data that employees must collect while they work outside the office (for example, customer contact information). All these functions, according to Chu, will allow administrators to establish a full-fledged workflow for their employees working outside the office.

Considering the consequences of leakage of private data from a service like this, Google has built in the “invisibility” option for users, as well as a system that automatically, at the end of a shift, disconnects employees. Also, the first time before using the application, users must give their consent to track their movements.

Google provides the service at a price of $ 15 per 1 user per month, it will be valid until September 1, 2012. After September 1, the price may rise, but officially Google has not yet reported anything about it. Now the service is available all over the world and, unlike the usual practice of Google, it will not be tested in beta.

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