Google has just launched new geo-locator service, called Google Latitude which transmits the user’s location back to Google for display using the service’s online maps. The location information is detected from GPS-equipped Smartphones or by triangulation using cell towers. Besides, Latitude also works with laptop computers.
With Google Latitude, you can see where your friends are in real time. You can then in touch with your friends directly via SMS, Google Talk, Gmail, or by updating your status message.
From business perspective, it is possible to track service personnel when they move from location-to-location. Without having additional expensive tracking system, delivery vehicles can be tracked. Many would agree with me, one not very nice thing is that bosses could also use the service to keep an eye on their charges or staffs to make sure they are where they are supposed to be.
However, Google recognizes the sensitivity of location data. Everything about Latitude is opt-in. You have the control on who gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they see. For instance, let’s say you are in Rome. Instead of having your approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can manually set your location elsewhere, i.e shopping at London. You can also choose to share your best available location or your city-level location with your closest friend. You have control of everything and you can sign out of Latitude at any time.
Currently, Latitude is available in 27 countries and more is expected to come. Google is working to make Latitude available to as many people as possible.