Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 4:15 PM
Since the launch of Google Latitude earlier this year, we've been getting a lot of feature requests. One of the most popular ideas was for Latitude to keep track of location history, allowing you (but not your friends) to see where you've been at any point in time. Another popular idea was to notify you when you're near your Latitude friends so you can easily meet up or grab lunch. Today, we're happy to introduce both Google Location History and Google Location Alerts (beta) to let you do even more with Latitude.
Google Location History
Whether you're taking a road trip across the country, backpacking across Europe, or just going out for a night on the town, it's fascinating to look back at where you went, and for how long you stayed. Enable Google Location History to store, view, and manage your past Latitude locations. You can visualize your history on Google Maps and Earth or play back a recent trip in order. Of course, you can always delete selected history or your entire location history at any time. While working on Location History, I found myself going back in time to discover things that would have otherwise been impossible. For example, I stopped at an awesome BBQ place on my way back from Lake Tahoe this summer, but I couldn't remember the name when my friend was asking about it a few months later. I pulled up my location history for that weekend, found where I was stationary on the drive home, and the restaurant name showed up in Google Maps: Drooling Dog Bar BQ. Check it out below:
Google Location Alerts (beta)
People also want to know when their friends were nearby, but it's not always convenient to keep checking Latitude to see if a friend has recently shown up near you. After working on this for a while, we realized it wasn't as straightforward as sending a notification every time Latitude friends were near each other. Imagine that you're Latitude friends with your roommate or co-workers. It would get pretty annoying to get a text message every single time you walked in the door at home or pulled into work. To avoid this, we decided to make Location Alerts smarter by requiring that you also enable Location History. Using your past location history, Location Alerts can recognize your regular, routine locations and not create alerts when you're at places like home or work. Alerts will only be sent to you and any nearby friends when you're either at an unusual place or at a routine place at an unusual time. Keep in mind that it may take up to a week to learn your "unusual" locations and start sending alerts.
To enable these features, go to google.com/latitude/apps. You must first be an existing Google Latitude user; if you're not already, sign up here. You must explicitly enable each feature, and of course, you can disable it at any time. Learn more in the Help Center about Location Alerts and Location History, suggest and vote on ideas in the Mobile Product Ideas page, or report problems in the Mobile Help Forum. Chris Lambert, Software Engineer, Google Mobile