Google Latitude launches dedicated website

Ronny Kerr · October 7, 2010 · Short URL:

Previously only available via an iGoogle widget or smartphone devices, Latitude now more prominent

Google launched Wednesday a new way for users in love with location to share their whereabouts with friends: a dedicated Google Latitude website.

Previously, users could only access Latitude through an iGoogle widget or a mobile site accessible via smartphone browsers. The two older options have been available since Google first announced Latitude in February 2009.

Google Latitude

When you first login to the new Google Latitude dedicated site, the application automatically detects your language (once you opt-in) and displays a map with your location as well as the location of your friends who have also registered. From the “Friends” tab, you can see where your friends are actually located (or where they were last time they updated), add new friends, and set your privacy settings.

The “History” tab does just what the name says, allowing one to see a visualization of their location history.

Finally, on the “Apps” tab, one can enable additional features that build on top of the standard Latitude functionality. Google Location Alerts, for example, lets the user know when friends are nearby. Google Talk Location Status updates the user’s status to read their current location and the Google Public Location Badge shares the user’s location anywhere he or she embeds the badge, like on a blog or other personal Web site.

Incidentally, the location market just got a little sticky starting yesterday, when Facebook, which just launched Places over the summer, received a patent for location sharing technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO had granted Google a strikingly similar (and equally encompassing) patent just two years earlier, for technology developed by the creators of Dodgeball and Foursquare.

None of the three companies currently involved--Facebook, Foursquare, Google--have officially responded, so no one can tell at this point how it will all turn out.

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