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Google Latitude Now Available

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 13th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

After a bit of a false start last week, Google has officially launched its Latitude app for the iPhone. The free app allows users to continuously broadcast their location to friends and family as well as see where other contacts are on a map at any time. The app also allows for background updating, allowing Latitude to continue to track where you are even when the app is closed.

For those concerned about privacy issues Google reminds you that the app is 100 percent opt-in, and your current location will only be shared with friends who you have added and approved to your account. Furthermore, users are free to turn off both the background tracking at any time, and you can also hide your current location or log out entirely if you aren't feeling particularly social. It may not be enough to persuade the truly paranoid to try Latitude, but for the Foursquare crowd this is just about the perfect app.

It's also worth noting that Latitude has been available to iOS users as a web application for quite a while now, but this is the first time it's been presented as a native app. Thus, Google has built the app with the iPhone 4 in mind so users will need a device such as an iPhone 4 or 3GS which is running iOS 4 or above to support the service. If you're still clinging to an original iPhone or iPod Touch then sorry, but it's not going to work. The app will also work with the iPad, but considering it's more of a mobile geolocating service it might not be terribly useful for tablet owners. In any event, Latitude is now officially here for iPhone users, so get out there and continue oversharing all the details of your life, including where you're standing at any given second.

[via Google Mobile]

Google Latitude May Appear at Any Moment

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 9th, 2010

A funny thing happened last night as Google briefly launched the Google Latitude iPhone app in the Japanese App Store, only to quickly pull it back down. While the company hasn't made any statements regarding the "blink and you missed it" accidental launch, it would seem that the new app is primed and ready for release at any second.

Google Latitude allows users to easy track one another by displaying the locations of friends and contacts on a map. This way, if a friend asks you to meet them at Starbucks for coffee, you can instantly see which cafe they're sitting at and head directly there. The service continually updates so you can keep track of your friends and vice-versa, but sharing settings are heavily restricted and there's an option to turn off tracking altogether if you'd rather go off the grid for a bit.

Latitude has sort of been available for the iPhone for well over a year, but not as a native app. Thus, it can't run in the backgound on the iPhone and is ultimately rather pointless for most users. The app has been a longstanding feature of phones running on the Android operating system, but it just now seems that the app may be on the cusp of approval from Apple.

The two companies have been at odds with one another for a while since Apple originally saw Google as a threat to iPhone market dominance, but the two companies have been warming to each other recently and it seems they may be about to settle into a more friendly relationship. Last month Google Voice finally appeared on the App Store, so it seems Latitude is set to follow in its footsteps. Also, with the launch of Google eBooks earlier this week it seems the two rivals may have finally turned the corner. More than anyone else, this is a big win for consumers.

[via TechCrunch]