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You know this was inevitable. Google, king of stage, screen, search, mail and maps, has launched Google Latitude, which is part of Google Maps. Here's what you'll get:

  • Share locations: Location sharing starts only when both you and a friend agree. Invite friends via email or easily add them from your Gmail contacts.
  • Control privacy: You can share, set, or hide your location - or turn off Google Latitude - from the privacy menu. You can also hide your location or share only a city-level location with certain friends. (Update: Still worried about your privacy? Google's got a video covering that.)
  • Share status: Create a status message and upload your photo within Latitude. It also syncs directly with Google Talk. Check your friends' status messages to see what your friends are up to.
  • Contact your friends: Quickly contact your friends with an SMS, IM, or phone call. You can also get directions to lead you to your friends.

Yes, it's yet another location-based friend finder. But this one has something like none of the others – Google and its quintuple-zillion users, and the weight of the world's largest Internet search company. Unlike other other services of this kind, Google doesn't have to go out and find the users. They're already there. And that means that Google Latitude may well become the one location-based friend finder app to rule them all.

Go get Latitude here, or head to google.com/latitude on your mobile browser. Latitude also works on your desktop and can be accessed with your iGoogle page.

Note that Google Latitude will work with Windows Mobile 5.0 and up, but not all carriers support the location-based service, as we also found out with a recent upgrade to Microsoft's Live Search.

Latitude also works with Android phones (though U.S. users have to wait for an update), most BlackBerries and most Symbian S60 devices. Support for the iPhone and iPod Touch is coming soon.

Getcher gallery of Latitude up and running on Windows Mobile after the break.

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

2 Comments
  • Now what I want to know, is can I get access to my location from the Google API like I can with Fire Eagle. Given how well behaved Google Maps is with the GPS on my HTC Touch, that I am not required to run a (buggy) JVM (like mgmaps), and it's cross platform so I have an easy sell to get my friends to use it - this is quite the development for me. I would just love to be able to put a Latitude badge on a website for some group activities I participate in (like long distance hikes). Couple criticisms so far: 1) If a contact has more than one gmail account, and they're both listed in your addresses, then it'll list all the addresses even if you only get an invite from one. 2) I don't see any options to control the maximum frequency that updates occur. If I'm tracking a long distance hike, 30 minute updates is plenty. I would include powering up/down the GPS in this functionality. 3) iGoogle page on google.com works fine. Google.ca is another story
  • That is a "friend tracker" allowing you to track friends... it doesn't enable finding new friends...