Google Introduces Latitude; Location Based Services To Go Mainstream

Internet search giant Google has just launched a new application, called Latitude, that allows users to share their geographical locations with their contacts through their mobile phone for free.

Latitude works in conjunction with mobile phone towers, GPS (if present) or WiFi Connectivity and could be use to spearhead a new wave of location-based tracking and advertising.

The new service, codenamed as ‘Latitude’, will enable users from 27 countries to broadcast their whereabouts to other users, and allow them to decide whether they should go offline to protect their privacy, if needed, the company notified in its website.

While announcing the new service to the world, Google noted in its blog post, “Fun aside, we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application.”

The necessary information about the whereabouts would be fetched from Google Maps application, and users can either use their smartphones or PCs for accessing the required data.

The new service bears close resemblance to the services offered by Loopt Inc., which is being used by the companies like Vodafone Group Plc and Verizon Wireless, a branch of Verizon Communications, to help its users to share their geographical locations.

It will work on the devices incorporating Symbian S60 platform or Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, along with Research in Motion’s Blackberry device, and some of the T1 mobile handsets running on Google’s Android platform, and the service will eventually work on Apple’s iPhone and iTouch devices.

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Our Comments

Google's Latitude could potentially be the building block for a number of devices and services using your location as a pivotal feature. Surprisingly no one seems to have expected Google to come forth with this great feature that soon. Maybe after stopping development on a number of other peripheral projects, the search benemoth now has the bandwidth to get revenue generating projects up and running.

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