OPINION: Here's what I want from Google Latitude

Columns & Opinion, Web 2.0

latitude.pngI don’t really care about privacy. I recognise the fact that other people do, but I don’t have anything to hide. Add that to the fact that I’m not especially interesting, and that I’ve been on the internet so long, and have such a unique name, that there’s a lot of me out there already.

That’s why I’m not bothered by commenters saying that Latitude is a massive privacy invasion. For me, the social proprioception offered by Latitude far outweighs the downsides of having my location available to my friends.

But because Google’s bending over backward to avoid privacy criticism, it’s neutered the service for me. I want my current location available to the public on a website. I want to be able to put it in a frame on my sidebar. Similarly, I want a notifier when friends are nearby. I want mashups that combine Google Maps, Latitude and review websites that tell me the best bar to meet a friend in.

While I’m at it, I also want to be able to sync my Twitter status to Latitude. I want the software to automatically pick ‘common locations’ for me and add them to my favourites. I want more mashups too – telling me the most efficient ways to visit a group of friends if I’m visiting a foreign city.

All those things would be fantastic, are completely possible with current technology, and wouldn’t take ages to code. Maybe I ought to take an evening class in programming and do it myself. In the meantime, Google needs a Latitude API, so people can hook into it.

Most of all though? I want my closest friends to own smartphones that can run this service. At the moment, they don’t, and my friends list is mostly empty. That makes me sad. Maybe I need new friends.


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Duncan Geere
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