Friday, 6 February 2009

Google introduces Latitude

The Google Blog has announced the launch of a new service called Latitude. Promoted as a tool to find out 'where your friends are', Latitude offers a similar tool to that found on the iPhone, whereby you can use GPS positioning to find the location of others using the same service. Latitude is a new feature for Google Maps on a mobile device and also a gadget for iGoogle users on a computer.

Currently available in over 25 countries. Latitude users can see the approximate location of friends or business colleagues who have decided to share their location. So, in real time, users can find where another individual is, based on their mobile or laptop, through an icon on a map. It also allows communication via SMS, Google Talk, Gmail, or by updating a status message. According to Google, 'it's a fun way to feel close to the people you care about'.

Of course, as this new technology is developed for a variety of purposes, privacy remains a key concern and Google says they have built 'fine-grained privacy controls right into the application' and ultimately everything is opt-in, so all users control access to their positioning, including the ability to actually set their location to somewhere other than they actually are, on a friend-by-friend basis!

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