Google rolled out a very interesting feature this week called Google Latitude that allows you to see where your friends are in real time within Google Maps. This is a feature that has been deployed many times in the past, but always platform specific (see SonyEricsson T68i and the new Nokia social network) and never at scale.
The interesting thing about Latitude is that it allows you the ability to see friends and locations from multiple platforms from your supported phone to your iGoogle page.
Google has now introduced a location based service into their hidden social network which is there when you need it and not when you don’t.
Below is a picture of my own map that I believe will look very different in a few weeksmonths time.
I have been brainstorming about Latitude today with the help of my friend Adam and there are definitely 10 integrations and features for Google Latitude we would like to see that make a lot more sense.
1. maps.google.com now has my exact location data if I am at a computer and signed into my Google account – this data should be used to pinpoint my location vs. showing me that I am geo-ip targeted to NYC.
2. Integrated GTalk functionality is a must. Seeing where your friends are located is great, but instantly being able to chat with them, surfacing a gchat window, would make even more sense.
3. Conversations should continue between chat windows if you switch from Latitude maps in iGoogle, Gchat in Gmail, or a standalone gchat app
4. Sharing data about your location with either pictures or streaming video. This would allow a conversation to happen by checking your latitude friends without “pinging” them for an update. For example a line at a venue, or even a status of a meeting. (This is somewhat handled by your “Status” within gchatlatitude)
5. Cross promotion with nearby vendors is obviously the future here.
6. Directions to “Me”
7. Dropping pins or breadcrumbs for people to see your trail of where you came from or where you are going.
8. Toggle for “ping me if friendX gets within 100yards of me” for impromptu meetups or to have persistent proximity beacons for latecomers to meetings or just to be notified of arrivals.
9. Sort gtalk buddy list by proximity – this would rely on everyone using Latitude of course
10. Surface distance data from friends. (Adam is 1,426 miles from you – would you like to see directions to get to him?)
I think there is a big resource untapped by location service that pertain to me. These types of opt-in network circumvent the traditional “text for info” or “bluetooth enabled” services as they do not impose on the user. By teaching a service about your habits and locations, the service can better tailor your needs whether they be accommodations, food and restaurants, bars, or even just deals.
The creepiness factor tends to get lower as relevance increases. I am a proponent of sharing this data, as it will be helpful to me and my friends as well as getting me in front of more of the things I want to see.
I am sure there are other integrations and features we would all like to see and I invite you to post them below.
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- Tracking Friends the Google Way [The Mossberg Solution] (solution.allthingsd.com)
- Google Latitude: now Google will know where you are 24/7 (inquisitr.com)
- Google Latitude: Share Your Location with Friends (googlesystem.blogspot.com)