The long awaited Google Latitude iPhone application was released this week with much fan fair but little talk about privacy and what Google Latitude is good for. Google promotes Latitude as a service that allows you to “See where your friends are right now” and no matter if you’re using the new Google Latitude iPhone app or Android version or updating your location from the browser Latitude can let your friends know where you are in real-time.
If you still need help understanding Google Latitude watch the Latitude video below.
While Google Latitude iPhone app may be new, Latitude is one year old and is reportedly to have over 9 million users. I would say most of those numbers are being counted because every Android powered phone comes with Google Latitude installed. I would also note that Google is saying that Latitude has 9 million users but we are not aware of how many of those 9 million users are active or use Latitude at least once a week.
Even though Google Latitude is a location-based service many would like to compare it to other popular location-based applications such as Foursquare, Gowlla, TriOut, Whrrl, Loopt and the list goes on. But as of right now there’s no official check-in action and business application use. I believe in the future Google Latitude could be used to see nearby businesses with deals or coupons from Google’s Places and data from Google HotPot. Regardless, if you’re looking for a location-based application to update your location in real time and run in the background Google Latitude does just that.
This brings me to the the stalker friendly part. Do not treat Google Latitude as just another location-based service or social network do to the fact that if you accept someone as a friend on Google Latitude they can see your location updates in real time. If you’re using the iPhone or Android app Google does make it easy for you to adjust your background tracking settings and the option to hide your location updates from others.
If you are a Google Latitude user, Google will send you email reminders to adjust your location sharing history and it is recommended to visit http://www.google.com/latitude to adjust/check your Latitude sharing options too.
Do you use Google Latitude or see value in using Latitude to update your location in real-time?