Google have finally released Latitude, their location tracking and sharing service, for iPhone and iPod Touch – but as a webapp rather than a native application. Why? The Google Mobile blog tells us:
We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles.
Whilst this means you can’t leave Latitude running as an always-on service it doesn’t diminish the concept too much. Point your iPhone to www.google.com/latitude and your location will be updated using the iPhone’s GPS, plotting you and your friends on a map.
One thing that I thought was particularly cool about this is that you can get directions to your friends – so if you’re trying to meet up but aren’t sure how to get there you’ll get the turn-by-turn instructions much as you would within the Maps application.
I have noticed a few bugs and freezes when using the friends list, such as people turning up in the list several times, but hopefully these will be sorted as Latitude’s development continues.
BUT… why would you want to use this? Well it’s useful for stalking… or… Actually, I don’t think I’d use this particularly often but, perhaps, if I’m away with a group of friends and have got separated from them, or when I’m travelling to my parents’ house in the south of England and want them to be able to see how far away I am. This isn’t going to get everyday use, but it’s a cool piece of technology and it will be useful from time to time.
Latitude is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones, iPod Touch, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. There’s also a desktop version, so there’s no excuse for not taking a peek at it yourself :)
Do you want more on the iPhone? Find our best iPhone posts here.