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Google Releases Latitude for iPhone

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If you’ve  never used Latitude before, you should definitely check it out. Latitude allows you to easily share your location with your friends and vice versa. Think of Twitter, but instead of providing your friends with status updates, you are providing them with Location updates.

Google has already released the Latitude application on Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile. Just recently, Google released Latitude as a web app that can be launched on an iPhone via Safari. Latitude on your iPhone utilizes the iPhones GPS device to update your current coordinates so that your friends always know where you are.

You can choose who you want to share your location data with, so that your privacy is not invaded. The only downside is that since this is a web application and requires the Safari Web Browser to run, you will either have to keep the browser up, or launch the browser when you want to update your location.

Google was initially working on a Latitude App, to run natively on the iPhone but Apple requested that they make it a web app instead, as to not confuse consumers with the current Maps application, which utilizes Google Maps, for GPS and location. This seems more like a demand rather then a request. Speculations are that Apple will be releasing some sort of proximity awareness feature so that iPhone will behave differently based on your location (e.g. At Work location, iPhone will be auto set on Vibrate). 

Having Latitude running as an app in the background would make it quite the essential app. Think about having an app on your iPhone that constantly updates your location. For example, say you have the app running in the background and you lost your iPhone, just log on to your Mac or PC and go to Latitude and look up the current GPS coordinates of your phone. That would be very useful

One last note is that the Google Latitude web app only supports iPhone/iPod Touch OS 3.0 or above. So if you have a lower firmware version then you’ll need to upgrade.

Setting Up Google Latitude

Because the iPhone and iPod touch don’t allow Safari windows or apps to run in the background or while your device is locked, your location will only be updated when Latitude is in the open, active Safari window. To have your location detected and updated:

  1. Check that your device has the latest iPhone OS version 3.0 firmware or above (See:http://www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate).
  2. Open http://google.com/latitude in Safari on your device.
  3. Sign in to your Google Account if you haven’t yet (Google Apps users learn more).
  4. Allow Safari and/or Latitude (google.com) to access your current location when prompted.
  5. Check that automatic location detection is enabled from the Latitude privacy menu.

Add Latitude to your Home Screen to be able to quickly open Latitude in Safari and update your location when you arrive at a new lace. Just open Latitude in Safari and tap the + icon > Add to Home Screen > Add

Your location will continue to be detected and updated while Latitude is the open, active Safari window and will stop being updated if you switch browser windows, leave Safari, or allow your device screen to lock.

Note: If you’ve disabled location services for your device, you’ll need to also enable them by going from your Home screen to Settings > General and turning “Location Services” to On.

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