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Finally! Google released the Google Latitude app for the iPhone – yes you heard this before but this is an actual, real app, not just the web based tripe that they released earlier in the year.  A real, working iPhone application with backgrounding and everything.

For those of you who don’t know or can’t remember – Google Latitude is essentially a geolocation service that lets you know where your friends are at any given time.

“why on earth would I want to know where my friend are?” I hear you ask… well, watch the video below and it’ll explain just why.  It does make sense, really it does.

Now that Google has done exactly what it should have done in the first place and released an app instead of something only accessible on the web on the iPhone Google Latitude can live up to it’s potential… or can it?

Did Google kill the app before it had a chance to gain a presence by releasing a web ‘app’ and then a real app later on?

Again, the app is pretty much for tracking your friend/family/enemies(?) whereabouts and for them to see whereabouts your are.

Security is fully customizable, you can select who sees what. Whether you see where you are or not is completely up to you. You can have the app detect your location using your iPhone’s onboard GPS, hide your location or set it manually. You can turn on or off background updating with just the tap of a switch in your application settings.

Of course you can tell that your iPhone is using its GPS when you can see the GPS arrow next to your Bluetooth and battery indicator in the upper right of your phone.

Will it take off? I’m really not sure. I only have 3 other people on my Google Latitude service who use it regularly and have obviously turned on their backgrounding (whether they know it or not). I know a lot of tech people so this is kind od a dismal number.

Privacy concerns? well only people that you give access to your information can see where you are. Got something to hide? not supposed to be somewhere? then don’t share your locale.

Google Latitude, sadly, is full of potential but is very, very limited in what it can currently do.
For example – imagine that Foursquare did sell to Google for the billions of dollars that they were offering. Think of the power of Google Latitude and a Foursquare mix – live updating location and check in capabilities with the Google Search and Information behind it all.

However, right now it’s just “I’m around here, you’re around there. Tap my info to call me… maybe”.

What do you think? Where do you see Latitude going? are you using it? would you use it?

*the Google Latitude app will run on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the 3rd and 4th Generation iPod Touches and the iPad. Background location updating is only supported on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 3G.

See more on the Google Mobile Site

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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