Introducing the Google Latitude app for iPhone

Monday, December 13, 2010 | 7:00 AM

“Where are you?”

Starting today, you’ll never again have to answer (or ask) that question when you’re on the go with your iPhone. With the new Google Latitude app for iPhone, you can see where your friends are and now, continuously share where you are – even in the background once you’ve closed the app.


Since launching last year, Latitude’s focus has always been on one goal: make it simple to stay in touch with friends and family by sharing where you are with each other. Simple setup. Simple sharing without fumbling for your phone. Now, you can use Latitude on your iPhone just like the more than 9 million people actively using it from Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile smartphones. Use the app to:
  • See where your friends are
  • Share your location continuously with whomever you choose
  • Contact friends by phone, text message, or email
  • Control your location and privacy



Watch the Latitude app for iPhone in action

You still get simple control over your privacy. Remember, Latitude is 100% opt-in. You must install the app and add friends (or accept requests) to start sharing your location. You can turn off background updating if you’d like and control the same privacy settings: share only city-level location, hide your location, or sign out of Latitude at any time. Learn more in the privacy tips video.

Though we released Latitude as a web application before the iPhone supported third party background applications, today’s Latitude app was built from the ground up using iOS 4’s new multitasking capability to support background updating. You’ll need iOS 4 and above on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 to use the app.

Download Google Latitude now from the App Store in over 15 languages and 45 countries. It will be appearing in the App Store over the next day, but you can also find it directly now. Learn more in the Help Center or ask questions in the Help Forum.

Update (12/13/2010, 10:20am PST): The Google Latitude app will run on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch (3rd/4th generation). However, background location updating is only supported on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPad 3G. We're continuing to work on expanding support to more devices.

44 comments:

Matrim Cauthon said...

Looks cool but any idea how that background location service is going to affect my battery life?

ra-tox said...

awesome! thank you so much! I was waiting for this for a long time!
I love you all!!

Emre SÜMENGEN said...

Nice... But, why is it missing from the Turkish store while it has Turkish localizations?

Why, oh why!

Oleg Ufaev said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Scott said...

says to me "This App is Incompatible With This IPhone P2.requireedCapabilites.thisAppRequires"

Any ideas?

Scott said...

ps: iPhone3g running 4.2

tamara said...

Scott,

An iPhone 3G won't do background processes, which the Latitude app uses to update your location when the app isn't running. That's probably the cause of the error.

You need an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 to get the backgrounding capabilities of iOS 4.2.

Scott said...

I understand the need for a 3gs or 4, however for all other apps they work. Maybe not in the background, but they still allow to run normally. To bad...

joshyMinor said...

Oh wow, OK that makes a lot of sense dude.

www.internet-privacy.edu.tc

Chris said...

Any overview of which 45 countries? iTunes norway is saying "Not found - but present in the New Zealand store" (not at all sure why that's an alternative for us up here).

Technology Cloud said...

Great News that Latitude coming to iPhone after a long time ... Read about getting alerted by latitude app when your friend is near by - http://techicloud.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-get-alerted-when-your-friends.html

Carol's Biggest Fan said...

Can we get a bit more detail on the specifics of how the app updates location? How often is it updated? Is the GPS constantly on? How battery-friendly is it? When moving quickly (e.g., in a car), does the location get updated continuously? When not moving (e.g., sleeping at night) does the location get updated less frequently?

Diane B said...

I just installed this, and its nice that you send me an email to advise me that Latitude was installed on my phone, and is tracking me.

But if someone had installed it without my permission, they would still have the phone when the email arrived and could easily delete it.

I think you should time delay the email, or send it on a few consecutive days or something.

Stim said...

Not in Norwegian Appstore. Go figure. But why? I thought Google would like everyone to use Latitude?

Mike Corbett said...

awesome news for the iphone group, makes it nice for me because now i can see iphone friends on latitude! Does this mean we are one step closer to checkins?

Сергей Назаров said...

This app is not install on iphone 3G !!!!!

James King said...

Installed it but I am missing the map button. It only shows me my friends list and there is no option to go back to the map like in the video.

Ed said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Nuno said...

Google, can you tell us if this uses the GPS of cell tower triangulation? In theory the latter should barely use any battery power? Can you confirm what's happening behind the scenes?

Morac said...

I don't know how it's doing this, but this app will continue to use the GPS even after it's killed from the task management bar. The only way to stop it from using the GPS is to rerun the app and disable background updating. That or disallow Latitude from the Location Services settings.

It doesn't seem to drain the battery like other GPS apps though, so my guess is it's using triangulation. That or it's not polling that frequently.

Andrew Newdigate said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Audrey said...

Pretty excited about this. I cant even imagine how much weight google carried in mobile apps/ use in 2010. It's been a big year though! 2.4 million jobs were created in mobile development this year alone (stat from this animation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6mCkbrYKQyI)

its kind of amazing.

Mike Riversdale said...

Shame it doesn't install on iPhones earlier than 3GS.

Robert said...

Great news. I hope Google Navigation for iPhone is next!!!

Rajiv said...

From this article:
"continuously share where you are – even in the background once you’ve closed the app."

I would like to share my location with my friend or my coworker sometimes on a need to know basis. I don't know whether you'd be able to turn the background updating off, but if you cannot, I'd say no thanks to this app.
Theoritically, a good approach would be that when a person closes the app, it should shut off in the background too. Because the person, especially if he or she is not tech adept and naive, is assuming that by closing the app, the person has stopped sharing his or her location. But this is apparently not so.

Now someone can answer to this and it would correct: "In the settings of the app you can turn on and off backgrounding."

The problem is, lot of people who use iphone are wary about the settings, or are just plain uncomfortable with techy settings, or sometimes totally clueless that a setting like that might exist, or even bothered about fiddling with settings. You can disagree with me, but there are a lot of people out there who are like that.

And for those people who don't turn it off properly, and they are assuming they have turned it off by closing the app...they might get into problematical or tricky or embarassing situations.

Google could have avoided all that, by asking a simple question when the user is closing the app "Would you like to shut off background updating too?" It would have been better programming in my sense. But that's just me, and I respect other people's opinions.

00fez said...

i have the same problem as james king. I can only see my list of friends, but not the map. Don't know what to do.

Nayan said...

Nice to see the app atlast. But I have some requests for the future updates.

1. Need Push Notifications for nearby friends alert, no need of sms for Iphones anymore.

2. Need an option to save a favorite place (star marked) same as Symbian phone version can do.

3. There should be layers and other options same as symbian version have.

4.Location updates should be frequent even if the location is not changed, like each 30-60mins the lcoation should be updated if the location is not changed for nearby notification.

hught78 said...

I'm having the same problem as james king and 00fez. I can add friends but can't see the map because there is no map button anywhere. What's up with this?

Bo said...

I have a same problem, there is no "view map" button, hoe can I see my friends' position on maps???

Kinmod said...

I tried it last night (switched from Latitudie) and appears that I only lost 3% in 8 hours but also see that the last update was 5++ hours ago...It seems to only update when I'm on the move or when I open the app....now its stale again...anybody with the same problem?

Ramik Sadana said...

Well, adding onto that. The bottom-line is battery usage, particularly with this being a GPS related app. And Google has totally omitted talking about it. Has anyone (or the
author) been able to do any real testing with this app with background update switched ON? If the app uses aGPS that would be great for the battery.

Viren said...

Have iPhone users never heard of Latitude? If you can't charge your phone regularly just don't use GPS enabled services. Simple really.

Keith said...

I had the app running yesterday evening and never had any noticeable battery drain. I then turned it off and back on this morning and had it running for two hours so far with the loss of 1%.

I actually opened the app and in the list of friends with me at the top it says my last location was updated 11 hours ago. However, if I go the the latitude dashboard and browse my history I can see that it's been updating about the location about every three minutes.

Pretty good frequency for hardly any batter drain.

David Rowe said...

This morning I ran into work and the phone was off the charger for about 2.5 hours (iPhone 3GS). It lost 10 percent battery in 2.5 hours. It was turned off (standby) with background updating in latitude on. I was moving throughout and in the history on the google site there's about 15 location updates in two hours.

Normally if I don't touch my phone for a couple of hours in the morning then it will be at 99 or 100 percent when I turn it on at work.

So far it looks like its draining the battery quite a bit.

AttilaBal said...

Has anyone info about the data size that phone send during update? I dont have unlimited net package on my iphone....

Nuno said...

So it looks like the app is turning GPS on and off and not using triangulation. This has quite the affect on battery usage.

From last night at 7pm to this morning 8am (13 hours), the phone dropped from 100% battery life to 14%.

It looks like this app has a huge affect on battery life (normally I'd be around 50% this the morning).

Unless Google can switch it to use triangulation then there's no way I can afford to use this, complete battery drain. Drains your iphone in almost half the time. No thanks.

Trideep Gogoi said...

IN case this helps people: Google simply uses the Apple api for background update. Essentially Goole itself has no control over when they are updates you phone itself decides when to update based on if you have moved at all, how much battery life you have left etc AND it only uses triangulation and Wifi NOT GPS In fact heres the Help text from the Official support page for Google Latitude.
(http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136647#iphone)

"Your location will only update in the background when you're moving (exceptions: when you switch the app from foreground to background mode, or go from a "moving" to a "stationary" state, the app will continue to update your location for a few minutes). The background location update frequency isn't a fixed amount of time. The update frequency is determined by several factors, such as how much battery life your phone has, if you are moving, or how fast you are moving. Background updating will only use cell ID or WiFi location detection depending on your device. GPS will not be used in the background to preserve battery life."

D. Cootey said...

Same as others, there is no View Map button for me. I can access the map ONLY if I manually select my location. However, my icon is blank, and my info isn't showing up at the top of the friend list either. It seems that I'm not truly logged into the service. I've signed in and out, as well as rebooted my iPhone, but to no avail. Using Latitude in Safari doesn't give me these problems.

utlandsMartin said...

Yesterday I drove 30 minutes from work to home and got 63 position updates. Sometimes Latitude, running in the background, updated my position four (4!!!) times within a minute. This really drained my battery!

utlandsMartin said...

I saw above that not everyone get their map [history] view. This is how to get it.

1. Go to the Latitude website: https://www.google.com/latitude
2. Click on the History tab
3. Click on "View and manage" tab

Victor Hooi said...

heya,

I find it somewhat ironic that the iPhone app lets you choose units (miles and KMs), whilst the Android Latitude does not - a longstanding gripe from many users.

Just like the whole editing of Google Docs on Android (which only came out around a month ago, and still lags behind iDevices), it seems like Androids are actually a second-class citizen...

Very weird - and a sad fact, because it lends weight to all the critics who say that Android and it's apps lacks the polish of iOS and WP7.

Cheers,
Victor

Mike Corbett said...

Victor,

I believe that android could get this on the next big update. Google maps will be at Britain version 5.0 soon and said updates could show then, however, I've personally never heard these gripes from any android user.

niteshpatel said...

Anybody have a sense for what the definition for 'active' is?

Having tried it for a while I have to say I'm sceptical that there are 9 million users out there that deliberately log into Latitude more than a few times before getting bored. Maybe they count the locator and locatee as two separate active users, despite the locatee being unaware that the locator has requested their position....

Michael said...

Please make this a universal app for use on the iPad.