Google Latitude

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A new feature was released today from Google called Google Latitude.  It’s allows you to post your location onto Google Maps and to see your friends’ locations.  It’s done using GPS and other technologies (Gears, etc.) and works really well.  Here are some thoughts i have on it

First, I like the way it looks and works. The interface is extremely simple.  Entering in info is done inline and the interface is definitely not cluttered with too many bells and whistles.  Adding and viewing friends is also braindead simple.  Overall, it’s a snap to use

It’s a social app but it’s different than a social network. For instance it’s (a) only really useful for people you know, (b) more interesting for people you live close to, and (c) limited to only location information. It’s only a map.  Again, very simple


Not everything is great though. One thing i don’t understand is why they force you to access it (on the web) through iGoogle.  I have a homepage already and see no other reason to go to iGoogle.  That’s annoying and i wish it had it’s own site like Google’s Calendar, Reader, Maps, Mail, etc.  Also, I also wish it would use my profile from other Google products. It seems now that i have a different profile for Gmail, Calendar, Orkut, FriendConnect and Reader.  Why can’t there be just one?

Since i’ve had a iPhone, i’ve become much more aware of the usefulness of my location.  When this information is layered onto web services, those services can become much more useful.  I like this new app because it shows that there’s a whole other layer (location) that is just starting to be explored. I can imagine many applications starting to layer in location and serve information based on this.  Ad targeting, ticketing, messaging, groups all change when this is added.

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