Google killing hide-n-seek; introduces Latitude

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Google Latitude finds your friends location with GPSGoogle rolled out Latitude this morning and already, as with all things Google for some inexplicable reason, I am giddy. This time, Google is bringing location to mobile social networking and it looks pretty cool. The downloadable application allows users to share their location with other, approved by you, users. Check out the video below.

The application is basically a layer over Google Maps that brings opt-in location of your friends to your mobile device or desktop if you prefer. Others like Loopt and Where have brought similar services out, but Google has become so universally accepted, I suspect adoption for this program will overshadow the others.

Users will see the location and name of your opt-in friends and also their GTalk status, which is pretty handy. It doesn’t integrate with Twitter or Facebook, so you’ll be updating all over the dang place, but it is better than nothing and for those that use GTalk anyway, it is super handy.

According to the WSJ who got their hands on this early, the service works OK, but just OK. Location pinpointing varied in accuracy from spot-on to 1.5 miles off. Mobile devices do not need GPS to be part of the fun, presumably cell phone triangulation or duoangulation is taking its place? Yes editor, I made up duoangulation, but to get a position fix, a phone only needs two cell towers, cool huh?

Google is putting privacy concerns way up front on this. Users have to approve each and every person to allow them to see your location. Users can set exact position, keep it at the city level (good for bosses) or go on the lam and hide.

Latitude is available on Blackberry, S60, and Windows Mobile, and will be available on Android in the next few days. We expect it will be coming to the iPhone, through Google Mobile App, very soon.

That sounds like they are waiting on Apple to approve the update to the Google Mobile App…again.

Product Page: [Google]

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