Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Stalk Your Friends Anywhere With Google Latitude

Google has released Latitude, a new service that lets Google users share their location with friends, family, and coworkers. Latitude is a new feature for Google Maps for your mobile devices. The service is accessible via an iGoogle gadget and a variety of supported devices and smartphones like BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 5.0+, and Symbian S60. (iPhone and iPod touch devices as well as several more products are "coming soon")

Once you've opted in to Latitude, you can see the approximate location of your friends and loved ones who have decided to share their location with you. So now you can stalk your friends, family and co-workers anywhere they are at any time, kinda cool huh. Not only with you be able to stalk them but you can keep in touch with them too via SMS, Google Talk, Gmail, or by updating your status message; you can even upload a new profile photo on the fly.

Users using virtually any Google product, like Gmail or Google Reader, can log in their your Google account and either manually type in a location such as a specific street address or a less specific general location such as city/state. They will then be displayed on map for other members to follow. For users on the go you can harness the automated location technology in supported cellphones. Notebook/Netbook users can use Google Gears to tap into the plug-in's recent update that added WiFi positioning and geolocation features.

Worried about privacy concerns, well you aren't alone. Google says they only keep your last known location. If you've hidden your location, then Google says they don't hold any information on your locale at all.

"Fun aside, we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application," said Steve Lee, Product Manager for Google Latitude. "You not only control exactly who gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they see."

According to the Google Mobile blog, Latitude gives you control over how much or little location information you want to share, and with whom. You can make your location fully detailed or slightly more general. Your information is only shared with those people that you add to your friends list, so there shouldn't be any strangers stalking you. Latitude is 100% opt-in so you can opt out at anytime. Learn more about using Latitude and its privacy features in our Help Center or check out our privacy video. For more detail visit the Official Google blog or the Google Mobile blog, and check out the video below to see Latitude in action.

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