Whereabouts Clock Set to 'Unreleased'

Microsoft's Whereabouts Clock seems to be missing. According to last reports, it was supposed to be tested and ready for release by late 2006/early 2007.


(Whereabouts Clock from Microsoft)

The clock is a situated display that uses cell phone data to display the general whereabouts of family or business team members.

  • It is intended to be used in a central location where the entire family/group can see it.
  • It is a good example of an "at a glance" display.
  • It is a "private" device - only family/team members can access it.
  • It displays "coarse-grained" information: "at work" or "at school" gives just enough information.
The Whereabouts Clock has been tested in the office at Microsoft. It makes use of automatically transmitted SMS messages to the device from family/team member cell phones.

In a rare instance of admitting prior art, Microsoft states that the idea for the Whereabouts Clock comes from the Harry Potter books. In the stories, the Weasley family has a remarkable clock that shows the location of all family members.


(Weasley family clock from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

This being a science fiction/science fact site, I don't often quote works of fantasy. However, if Arthur C. Clarke is right in saying that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic..."

Read more about the Whereabouts Clock (pdf).

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