Google wants to let people index and search for lost possessions using RFID tags

  • 0
  • December 4, 2007

Google has ambitious plans not just to index the world’s documents but to index people and possessions as well.

In a move that will no doubt anger privacy campaigners Google has stated that they want to fit RFID tags to items that we often lose such as watches and mobile phones, as well as people.

The idea is that if we lose our phone or car keys we can turn to Google to find it. Thanks to the tiny RFID microchip embedded in the item Google will be able to track it down and pinpoint the location on a map. If all goes to plan the same technology would be able to find people too, the ultimate big brother search engine.

Google to index our lives with RFID

The details were leaked over the weekend in a Daily Mail article entitled Google is watching you.

One plan, which has already tentatively started, entails making literally everything in the world accessible at the click of a button.

….eventually, far-fetched as it sounds, Google boffins believe it can be extended to people and their personal belongings.

The idea is that we, and our treasured possessions, will be fitted with minute microchips which could be linked to the internet, via computers, by a digital radio frequency.

In this way, you would only have to type “Where is my watch” or “Find Joe Bloggs” into your PC or handheld computer, and Google could assist you.

The theory, at least, is that we will never lose anything and never be out of contact with oneanother – fine for parents wishing to check up on little Johnny at nursery, perhaps, but an unpalatable prospect for those who fear the temptation such a network would present to criminals or totalitarian regimes.

So, if Google can figure this out, we will all fit RFID tags into our car keys, watches, mobile phones and golf balls and when we lose them we can just search for them on Google with the results presumably displayed on a Google Map? Wow.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • itsprivate

    having just replaced my umpteenth misplaced driver’s license, i effin’ want this! i understand it isn’t for everyone, but oh man is it for me. i want bill gates’ self-refilling rfid fridge, too. i’m totally for trading some privacy for convenience.

  • Chad Reitsma

    What a crock of shit, go ahead and plant RFID’s in everything and let google and god knows who else track your every move. Fascism anyone? I didn’t think so.

  • V

    This sounds really cool, but ONLY if it has a password or other security invovled. That way,only you can search for you or your stuff.

    If it’s easy for other people to find your stuff or find out where you are when you don’t want them to, it’s a pretty substantial privacy risk.

  • poons

    love the site but for a while now you stumble icon has been red x-ing. Just thought I’d mention it

  • Reasonably sane in Paranoid times

    Truly Terrifying. Orwell had it right after all.

  • Natebob

    Not a practical idea. Most of us lose our keys/remote control inside our house. This won’t help there, but will help Google track us and gather info on where we’ve been.

  • Brian

    I don’t see why people would want to do this to absolutely everything. Perhaps checking on kids or finding a stolen possession could be realistic reasons, but if you lost your keys they’re usually going to be somewhere in your house; I’m guessing this is only going to be accurate to within 20-30 feet at best, which wouldn’t even get you in the same room.

  • Mikey

    horrible idea….do you want anybody to be able to track your shit?

  • Steve


  • Blasie

    Gee now I have to do is search until no one is home then I can go rob the house. Or use variables to find all the keys to mustangs in my area… Need I go on?

  • Advice Network

    wow, that is so creepy it gives me the chills. I’d rather loose my phone and my keys than have something I carry with me all the time searchable online. What was that movie with Will Smith? Enemy of the State I think, Gene Hackman’s secret lab gets blow up because Will Smith uses a pay phone. Remember that? Now you don’t even need the pay phone.

  • G

    people complain about the privacy issue here.

    your cell already has gps in it. And if I wanted to find you I could look up your name and find where you live in 10 minutes.

    And faschism? People love onstar, it tracks your cars. come one people, Think. Everyone knows where everyone is. This just helps the stupid people keep track of there stuff.

    If you don’t want to be tracked. Get off the internet.

  • Julie

    I look forward to the day when I have a microchip in my ear and a barcode across my forehead! Where will it end?

  • Matt

    I for one welcome our new Google overlords

  • david

    I’d be happy if it could just find the cats!

  • Alex G

    We will certainly save on detective fees. You can track your spouse by bugging them. Of course a thief could bug you, or a kidnapper or a killer. But then you could track the stolen items, where you are being held or where is your corpse. I guess they could bug you anyway without the help of Google. If the technology exist they can do it. So Google is just making it accessible to everyone. We are reaching the end of privacy. Not because of Google but just because they will be a camera and an RFID tag on everything. Big brother will use it, so we might as well the whole family watch. Smile

  • Michael

    I actually was taking this seriously until I read the words “Daily Mail”. For those not in the know, just google “Daily Mail” and “crap” at the same time, and you’ll discover just exactly what it’s full of.

  • Mark

    This seems impractical since RFID sensors typically have to be within 3 yards of the tag, not to mention connected to the internet for Google access.

  • Kimota

    Although I understand the privacy implications, I assume there would be some safeguards so you couldn’t search for items that weren’t yours.

    And as someone who misplaces their wallet and keys on a regular basis, I have been wishing for just such a device. Just the piece of mind of being able to look up and see that I left my wallet on the bedside table is worth the price of admission and I don’t really see it as too much of an invasion of privacy who else knows my wallet is safely at home either.

  • David Bradley

    RFID tags are being touted for a smart wardrobe that offers fashion advice.


Like what you see? Talk to an Expert