Don’t expect Google to retire its little-used Latitude location sharing service any time soon.
With Buzz offering a pretty damn good social platform for sharing and discussing locations, you might think Google was planning to abandon its slightly more hardcore ‘always on’ location sharing service, or perhaps merge it with Buzz.
Not so, says the man responsible for overseeing Google Maps and Latitude.
Google Product Manager Steve Lee has been talking to eWeek and has revealed that he sees Buzz and Latitude as totally different services. “Latitude is a friend-finding app. It’s about a user continuously sharing location… Google Buzz is about creating conversations, and keeping up-to-date with friends and keeping your friends up-to-date about you… They’re totally different use cases”.
Since its launch in February 2009, Latitude has failed to gain a significant userbase. Low take-up is likely down to the fact that sharing your location in Latitude lacks any context. Users sharing where they are in Buzz are discussing what’s going on around them. With Latitude you simply say “I am here”, a prospect that doesn’t seem to appeal to many people.
Despite this, Lee told eWeek that there are plans afoot to develop Latitude further, and even integrate it with Buzz:
“Down the road, there might be points of integration between Buzz and Latitude, but they are separate products… We’re thinking of what apps we can build that have certain compelling use cases and how can location enhance those apps.”
So, Latitude is here for the long-haul, but don’t be surprised to see it flirting with Buzz in the future.