Sure there are tons of Location Base services, social networks, and the like out there. Off the top of my head Loopt comes to mind as well as Whirrl which I tried but didn’t really like. I’m excite about this, since it is from Google and is using Google Map, and I love as well as many other Google Maps. So let’s have a quick look at Google Latitude.
The very first thin I must say about Google Latitude is the fact that I didn’t need to install another application on my Blackberry (I use the Blackberry Bold). I already had Google maps on my Blackberry, so I simply just needed to upgrade to the newest version which is 3.0. Once I opened up Google maps and hit the menus button there was a option with Latitude. It gave me the option to sign in with my Google account information, and I was in there & ready to go. Now when I look at the map of my location, instead of just a little dot, I had a mini profile pic that represented me.
Adding my profile picture was easy. As you can see from above when you click on the options for yourself, you get your name, email address you are using for the account, your location, and your status message. From this little area you have the option to change your status, change your photo, enter in your mobile phone number, edit your privacy settings or see your friend list. Speaking of privacy settings, Google has though this through. Once you start using it, not everyone in the world can see you. Only the friend you allow and accept can see you. Even from there each setting it on a friend by friend basis. So you can set friend 1 to see your exact location, but friend 2 can only see your City location. For example, friend one might see that I’m on 42nd street and Lexington Avenue, but friend 2 can only see that I’m in New York, NY.
As you can see above from each friend you have you can see their name, their email address, location, status if they have one and the sharing options. One of the cool things and another great feature of Google Maps, is right from this screen I can search nearby the person. So say we want to have lunch, I can search places to ear near by. And then one step further I can get directions on how to get to them by Train, Car, or Walking! Now that is a nice touch, and it really enhances Google Maps on your mobile phone!
Ok I think this new feature or social network if their going that route will be a big success! Why you ask? 1) People love Google Maps! Everyone loves using Google Maps from the computer or from their mobile phones. 2) Google Latitude will be available on most Blackberry devices, S60, Windows Mobile, Android, and the iPhone. It is already available for Blackberry and I believe Window Mobile and S60, and it should be rolling out to the G1 in a couple days. 3) The intergration with Google maps is seamless. There is no additional software to install/use, you just upgrade your current version of Google maps and your good to go. 4) You aren’t limited to just the mobile phone. If you are on a laptop or computer at work or home, you can sign into the iGoogle homepage and use Google Latitude from there.
So if ever there was a location based service or social network as you will that I would use, Google Latitude is it. If you are interested in checking out Google Latitude you can download it from your Blackberry phone by going to http://www.google.com/gmm or http://www.google.com/latitude
I have a test group going now myself, and so far I’m testing it, I’m liking it and it should be something I use often as Google maps is something I use.