Google Gadget Gotcha

Technology to the rescue in the city

By Dan Pyryt
|  Friday, Apr 17, 2009  |  Updated 8:52 AM PDT
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Google App Cracks Case

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Purse snatchers beware. We can find you thanks to Google.

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Google App Cracks Case

When Janina Valiente added the Google Latitude app to her cell phone, she had no idea it would someday help her retrieve her stolen purse.
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Who needs 911 when you have Google on your side?

A new program from the Mountain View-based software giant helped a San Francisco woman help police track down an alleged purse-snatcher.

Last week Janina Valiente was waiting for a bus when a man ran up, grabbed her purse and took off.

Valiente told KCBS radio: "I didn’t stand a chance. I was holding a book. I was sitting down. And he obviously was stronger than me."

But the story doesn’t end there.

Valiente said she remembered her cell phone was in her purse and it had a tracking program called Latitude, that she just downloaded from Google.

She told the radio station she quickly called her sister, who also had the program and used it to track her phone.

The sister found the purse using Latitude at the corner of Fell and Ashbury.

That's exactly where police found the purse in the clutching arms of the alleged thief.

Police arrested the suspect.

Valiente got her purse back.  Nothing had been taken.

Now that's technology at its finest.

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