Google’s Latitude kick starts social location

I woke up this morning to a few invites to join Google Latitude, which as is turns out is packaged into Google Maps Mobile 3.0. Once in the system I immediately saw how powerful this new service is going to be … While it is still very early Google and the Latitude / Maps team have done an excellent job bridging the service layers into the application which makes it very easy for existing Maps users to use. And that’s the real key here – there’s a massive installed base for Google Mobile Maps! This is less a new social network and more about adding a feature to an existing product millions of people already use. If Google decides to allow other location services to feed data into their system (and they probably will) it will only get stronger. This is big because the potential network effect  is instantly massive!

So what is Latitude – essentially it’s the ability to see your friends and search around the map once you find them. You can get a list view and then click through to see exactly (to the degree that info is shared) that person is and even what they are up to through a status line.  For the moment, the contact system is integrated into your GMail contacts and you can sort through the list by most contacted and even those you may have starred if you use an Android device. I could definitely see an option here for my Friend Connect contacts which would bring my social network friends and my contacts all onto the map.

On the desktop side, you can add an iGoogle Gadget which I’ve yet to do and will take a look at later. (have added it now and it’s quite nice if you want access from your desktop) The real power of this system is the mobile accessibility and that is definitely how I see myself getting the most from it. I’ve snapped a bunch of screenshots from the N79 so you can get a feel for how it works …

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All in all a very strong start for Google Latitude. I’ve verified my mobile number now and will have to see how that gets used. Perhaps for contacting people on go via the Map for in the moment planning which would be very cool.

14 comments for “Google’s Latitude kick starts social location

  1. 2/4/2009 at 8:23 am

    A few more thoughts about Latitude and a question about one of yours

  2. 2/4/2009 at 8:25 am

    I think the first part of my video comment was cut off somehow. Sorry about that!

  3. 2/4/2009 at 9:00 am

    you comment came through just fine actually … I see Friend Connect as just another source of contacts for the service. Given these are less likely to be your actual friends vs. people in your contact list, it might be nice if / when integrated they get the relative location vs. exact by default.

  4. 2/4/2009 at 9:08 am

    I realised after I posted my comments that I was confusing Friend View with Friend Connect (and I was about to confuse it with Facebook Connect – not a wakeful day for me today). Is Friend Connect integrated with Latitude yet?

  5. 2/4/2009 at 9:16 am

    I was thinking about Google's Friend Connect which is really just a blog widget for now … suppose though anything could connect through if there was an API

  6. 2/6/2009 at 12:03 pm

    It would be kind of cool for figuring out where your friends are at. How cool would it be to be taking a taxi in NYC, check your phone and see your friends are in a bar just up the street, stop in and join them! Sweet

    I think you can cloak your location if you do not want others to see your location, i.e.. if you are studying for an exam or on a date with someone else! Bad!

  7. 5/7/2009 at 10:01 am


    If you're running a WordPress blog, you can add your Google Latitude location widget by downloading my plugin – details are at

  8. 5/7/2009 at 10:06 am

    Sorted now though..

  9. 5/7/2009 at 2:01 pm


    If you're running a WordPress blog, you can add your Google Latitude location widget by downloading my plugin – details are at

  10. 5/7/2009 at 2:06 pm

    Sorted now though..

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