For those of you unaware, Google Latitude is a location aware mobile app allowing you to share your location as well as view your friends most recent locations. The app has only been compatible with devices running Google Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, or Symbian s60 but thankfully it is now available for the iPhone.
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How it Works
To get started, just visit google.com/latitude from your phone and don’t forget to add a bookmark to the site if you want to add it to your home screen.
There are two main areas to the UI, ‘friends list’ and ‘map view’. On both you can see the location of your friends and modify your privacy settings so that you control how your location is shared and with whom.
The friends list page looks identical to what you see above. You view your friends avatars, names and last known location – all ordered
by the time they last updated. Adding friends is straight forward, click “add friends” and you can select people from your gmail contacts or add them manually via an email address.
When in map view, you’ll find basic search and directions functionality to help you get around. And like Google Maps, you can press the “blue dot” to be taken to your approximate current location on the map. You can also skim left and right to move between friends, and each will show exactly how long it was since they updated.
Latitude comes with a number of menu options, allowing you see traffic in the area, view the map in satellite view, get directions and if you’re paranoid you’re being tracked – sign out.
Contact view will let you set specific privacy settings for that individual, whether it be as specific as Google can be, or only sharing the city name or completely hiding location from that particular individual.
You can also view the users location on a map, send them an email or indeed view directions to that person – wherever they may be.
Firstly, in true Google fashion, its a web app. Google say they intentionally created a web app version of the application after Apple specifically requested they do so, supposedly to ensure no confusion with the default Maps application on the iPhone.
Sadly, and as expected considering its a web app, Latitude doesn’t run in the background and nor does it really automatically detect where you are. You do need to physically visit google.com/latitude before Google will announce your location.
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