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How Does Google Latitude Work?

Published by Nanni on Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Photo credit by dpstyles

Google Latitude is a web service offered by Google that tells you where exactly your friends are. You can also set up a latitude location for yourself on your mobile phone to share your location with your family and friends. This web application allows you to locate your friends, send them an SMS an IM, or just call them.

You can control who sees your location. When someone with Google Latitude wants to share their location with you, a message is sent to you, letting you know that someone wants to share Google Latitude with you, You can do one of the following: (1) accept and share your location, (2) accept and not let them know where you are, or (3) just decline.

If your friends are somewhere you are unfamiliar with, Latitude can lead you to them with easy to follow directions.

Privacy is built into Google Latitude. If you don’t wish to share your location, you can turn off the app. When you set up this app, you can have the program detect your location, or you can set it manually.

Not all mobile phones are compatible with Google Latitude. Android powered devices, Java enabled phones, Palm devices, all color Blackberry, and 3G phones equipped with Windows Mobile 5.0 are. You will also need to have a data plan in place to use Latitude.

If you do not have a supported phone, or just don’t wish to use it on your phone, you can install the program on your computer. You will need to Gears (formerly known as Google Gears.) This is an application from Google Labs, which helps enhance your web browsing experience. It is used on Google, MySpace, Gmail, and other sites. You also need to have a Google account.

To use Latitude on your computer, once you have installed Gears, you simply download the app to your Google account. From there you can set your location, and send invitations to friends in your contact list to join you in using Google Latitude.

Whether you use Latitude on your mobile phone, or on your computer, it will show you on a map where both you and your friends are.

The way Latitude works is through GPS or Wi-Fi service. This is why certain phone types are supported. Using Wi-Fi gives Latitude an accuracy of about 200 meters. If you use GPS locations service for Latitude, the accuracy can be within a few meters.

You do have the option of only sharing City Level information if you don’t want your specific location shown on the application map.

Downloading and using Google Latitude is free, but you need to be aware that you must have data service on your mobile device to use the application. Data service fees vary from mobile service to mobile service. Not only that, continuous location sharing uses a lot of data. If you plan to use Google Latitude, it is recommended to have an unlimited data plan.

Google Latitude is designed to use minimal battery power, so that you can keep your location in the pipeline, so to speak.

Google Latitude is a good way to keep in touch and know where your friends and, and to let them know where you are.

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