Google Latitude is a new feature on Google Maps for mobile as well as a new gadget for your iGoogle page. Latitude lets you track the location of your friends in real time on a Google Map.
Earlier this month, February 4, 2009 to be exact, Google launched Google Latitude. Google Latitude is a new feature on Google Maps for mobile as well as a new gadget for your iGoogle page. Latitude lets you track the location of your friends in real time on a Google Map. And it also lets them track you. Actually, it tracks the location of the cell phone or mobile device like a Blackberry that we all nowadays carry with us. That sounds sort of Orwellian, doesn't it? As in George Orwell's novel 1984 from where we get the term, "Big Brother is watching". But it's not as Orwellian as you might at first suspect. You can't track anyone unless they give you their permission. And no one can track you without your consent except, of course, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, Homeland Security, your cell phone service provider and probably Google. But hey, the government, various law enforcement agencies and your cell phone company can track the location of your cell phone whether you sign up for Google Latitude or not.
Google Latitude is so new right now (right now being February 28, 2009) that not many people know that it is now possible to use GPS to track the real time whereabouts of their friends and loved ones on their cell phones, mobile devices and home computers. I would be willing to wager money that a year from now millions of people all over the world will be wondering how they ever managed to get along without Google Latitude. Thank about it. Your elderly parents are going on vacation and driving from Charleston, S.C. to Denver. You can track their progress 24/7 every inch of the way until they get there. Or, your independent minded sixteen year-old child stays home from school because he says he's sick. You check from your office computer later that morning on iGoogle and his icon is not at home but at the Staten Island Skateboard Park, hum. Or, you and your spouse fly to Tahoe for the weekend. You boot up the laptop in the hotel room and, "Hey, look. Tom and Jane are right up I-80 in Reno!"