Google to Release “Latitude” - An App for Keeping Track of Your Friends and Family!

13/10/2009 14:54



     Yesterday, Google announced new software named Google Latitude, that will let mobile phone users share their whereabouts with family and friends, and it’s due to be released for the iPhone soon.

     The technology is actually a new feature of the Google’s Maps software for mobile devices and an iGoogle gadget that can be installed on your computer, like a desktop client.

     Google stated, “Once you have opted in to Latitude, you can see the approximate location of your friends and family who have decided to share their location with you. So now you can do things like see if your spouse is stuck in traffic on the way home from work, notice that a buddy is in town for the weekend, or take comfort in knowing that a loved one’s flight landed safely, despite bad weather.”

     The new software also ties into the company’s existing fleet of communication services, letting family and friends keep in touch constantly through SMS messages, Google Talk, Gmail or status message updates. Users can also change their profile photo on the fly.

      At the same time, Google said it recognizes the sensitivity of location data and has thus built “fine-grained privacy controls” right into the application. Everything about the new Latitude is said to be opt-in, which means that users will be able to dictate who gets to see their location, and also what location they see.

     Google explained, “For instance, let’s say you are in Rome. Instead of having your approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can manually set your location to somewhere else, perhaps a visit to Niagara Falls. Since you may not want to share the same information with everyone, Latitude lets you change the settings on a friend-by-friend basis. So for each person, you can choose to share your best location, your city-level location or you can hide it all together.”

     Latitude is currently available in 27 countries worldwide, on the main mobile platforms. Google said they will be rolling out Latitude to the iPhone very soon, and it looks like it will be coming through an update to the Google Mobile App which is currently free from the App Store.

     There are already concerns from some users that since applications “are not allowed” to run in the background, will your friends still be able to see your location when the application is closed? This remains to be seen, but hopefully when Google releases the updated software we will be pleasantly suprised.