by Mike Masnick

Coca-Cola Knows Where You've Been Drinking

from the just-lovely dept

Not quite sure what to make of this story, but it appears that Coca-Cola is looking to do a sweepstakes where the "winning" cans of Coke will contain a GPS device that lets them track you down - absolutely anywhere and hand you the prize. Of course, how many people are going to buy a cold can of Coke from the local convenience store, chug it down, and toss it in the nearest trash can, leading the camera toting prize delivery crew at the local garbage dump? If the GPS device is at all noticeable, then that sort of takes away the fun, doesn't it? However, if it's not noticeable, then can't "winners" accuse Coca-Cola of unwarranted privacy violations for following their whereabouts? Won't it be great when the prize van shows up to award the prize to someone who is where they absolutely shouldn't be (playing hooky from work, at a mistress, who knows where else)? Found over at BoingBoing.

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  1. identicon
    Ed Halley, 30 Sep 2003 @ 7:37am

    No Subject Given

    This is the most common misconception about GPS. GPS receivers are passive. How will the "camera toting crew" find the GPS receiver? Does it also have a transmitter? That's an entirely different device.

    GPS receivers are dead when the sky isn't visible. They triangulate from very weak satellite signals and can have trouble in cities and heavily wooded terrain. How is it going to see through aluminum, or your fridge, or your roof?

    GPS receivers need to listen to the almanac data from a number of satellites for about 30sec minimum before they can triangulate. What's the chances of a "winner" being outside with the false can long enough for the device to triangulate and broadcast? Unless it starts playing music and telling the winner to stay put, not very high.

    What's the power budget and other logistics involved to develop such a device? With a poor transmitter, you would need a Coke Inc signal van parked on the corner.

    Surely this costs a lot more than the other "false can" varieties, the ones which simply tell you to call a phone number or come in and redeem them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2003 @ 11:07am

    What about the power requirements?

    What about a power source?

    Maybe it needs to be like those Forever Flashlights, where ya shake it to juice it back up.

    "You're a winner! Please shake can vigorously for 2 minutes to activate transmitter"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 30 Sep 2003 @ 11:41am

    Can you picture it?

    Some guy/girl who's guilty of breaking some minor law, buying a can of Coke from a vending machine on the street of some major metropolis, they pop the top, turn the can upright to take a big swig of cola when suddenly an unmarked van pulls up, screeches to a halt and a bunch of yelling, screaming people jump out of the van, some carrying video cameras and come running at the person who is now spewing cola all over the sidewalk and quickly looking around for an escape route...

    Or, a gun-toting felon who's trying to relax and enjoy a cold drink finds himself in the same situation and opens fire on the 'prize crew'.

    Could make for some interesting PR...

    Dang, I'm starting to sound like Dorpus...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    LittleW0lf, 30 Sep 2003 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Can you picture it?

    Dang, I'm starting to sound like Dorpus...

    Not likely, this still made way too much sense. Start talking about spiders trapped in cans of coke during the canning process, covered with nanotech-devices which catch a ride in the human stomach where they set up shop and sell your thoughts to the Coke company and you'll sound like Dorpus.

    And I'll pull out my tin-foil cap when that happens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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