Google launches employee tracker service

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Google has launched a new cloud-based service to improve the management of mobile workers out in the field.

The Maps Coordinate service lets fleet managers track employee movements and allocate tasks to them based on their locations. Orders are given to workers through an app on an Android smartphone or tablet.

Product manager, Daniel Chu, said the tool was designed to improve communication between businesses and their field workers.

"As the number of mobile employees continues to grow, so does the need for a location sharing solution that works in real-time," he said.

He pointed to IDC research that showed that there will be over 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 - 37.2 per cent of the total workforce.

The app would work across a number of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, sales and repair services. The app can even work indoors, as the service integrates with Google Indoor Maps.

"Imagine you are a call centre operator at an electric utility company. A call comes in reporting a downed power line in one of the northern suburbs of your city, and an entire neighbourhood is without power," said Chu.

"You need to quickly dispatch one of your line repairers to the site, which is almost an hour away. To save time and get the power back up quickly, you want to know which line repairers are already in the area and send them the relevant information about the job. That's where Google Maps Coordinate comes in."

Back office dispatchers can create teams of people that use the app for specific roles. They can also manage jobs and assign these to the nearest team member, notifying them instantly.

Past jobs and locations can also be recorded and viewed to improve business intelligence and optimise team and employee placement.

Workers concerned about privacy issues can turn off tracking during lunch breaks or when the employee is off work. A notification on the screen will let staff know if they are being tracked.

While the app is only available on Android devices at the moment, an iPad or iPhone app is expected within the next twelve months. The service costs $US15 per user, per month under introductory pricing until September.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.