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“Latitude” Tracking Coming To iPhone

February 6, 2009 by Ryan Ray 

If you are a Macrumors fan and frequent reader, or even just a big Google fanboy then you already know about this. Google has made some news this week when the rumor came through describing a new iPhone app made by Google. The name so far for the app is Latitude, it’s a location based app that let’s you interact with your friends, mainly Gmail contacts, and see what they are doing based on location information that they share with Latitude.

It’s a very similar service to one called Loopt. With Loopt and Latitude you can be alerted when other friends are nearby, from there you can share your location, a status update, or even a picture with all or some friends. If you gather a bunch of friends through either service you could then theoretically see any friends that are nearby and what they are doing. Kind of like a Big Brother service but it’s definitely interesting to me. Who wouldn’t want anyone in the nearby area using Loopt or Latitude to see where I’m at and what I’m doing. I guess it’s kind of like Twitter and I love Twitter, but it goes further by giving away your location more often and easily than Twitter.

The difference with Latitude is that if obviously works closely with your other Google services. On Loopt one would have to manually find and add contacts, invite people to use loopt, etc… With Latitude you can simply use your Gmail contacts which sync up very easily with my address book thanks to Mac OS X. The best thing is that on your iPhone it’s going to be a feature built into maps. It looks like Google liked something they saw in Loopt and took their idea and improved on it by adding in their other services. You don’t have to download a new app and then convince your friends to download the same app and sign up for the service etc… if you have an iPhone it will automatically get the Latitude feature in Google Maps. Score one for Google on their tight integration with Apple!

If you are still a little confused I’ve posted Google’s video explaining Loopt so check it out. I think it could be very interesting to see what Google will now do with this information it collects. Now it will be collecting your location information. It can see how you move through out each day, what reviews you leave for what resteraunts, what activities you do and where you do those activities. Google has become so ubiquitos within our lives that it’s weird that we don’t feel somewhat semi uncomfortable with their strong hold on MOST of our data. I know not everyone uses Google services but they sure are addicted to data.

On the other hand it’s interesting and fun to be able to do this kind of stuff with our data. Technology is a great thing. What are your thoughts on services like Loopt and Latitude. Does anyone use Loopt? Will you use Latitude? Thanks for reading and have a great Friday.

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