If you have not already heard about or used Google Latitude, it may come as a bit of a shock to you that Google ventured into location-based services (shocking!). While the service has been out for quite some time, many people are still unaware of its existence. With the growing popularity of Google+, Google has now implemented Google Check-ins into the Google+ app. Competition for Foursquare, I doubt it, but this app may come in handy for some. Google Latitude is available as an iphone app, or if you have android, it is available through Google Maps with a handy widget for your screen. You can also access it on your desktop at www.google.com/latitude.
The Run Down
Google Latitude is a way for you to see on a map exactly where your family and friends are. As in the how-to video for Google Latitude, you can see if your parents arrived home safely from their trip, or you can see if any of your friends are close by. Google gives you the ability to chat with these friends by email, phone, text, or Google Chat. Google also gives you the ability to get directions to where your family or friends have checked into. This is handy if you are wanted to meet your friends out for a drink or need directions to the restaurant your family picked to meet at.
This would also a great tool for parents. Do you have a teenager who just got their license? With Google Latitude, you can see exactly where your kids are going, as long as they are checking in. This can give you piece of mind and keep your kids safe as well. Google Latitude could also be an amazing tool if you are going to a different part of the country and want to keep track of where you have been. Google Latitude lets you see past check ins! Worried about where your sales associates are actually going? Have them check in when they are out on sales calls.
Keeping Your Privacy
Because of obvious privacy issues, you have to sign up for the service and turn it on yourself. Share your location with people you do not know is an obvious no-no, as you do not want people to know exactly where you are if you have no idea who they are. That is definite grounds for stalkers, robbers, and who knows what else. You must be careful. This tool is better used for continuing relationships and not making new ones. Google does give you some privacy, you can choose to share your exact locations, just the city, or not at all. You can choose to hide from certain people as well. It is always a good rule of thumb to only share with people you know and trust with your location.
Do you use Google Latitude? If you do, how do you use it?
Do you prefer Foursquare to Google Latitude?