Location is the hottest craze in social networking right now, as developers and social media sites have realized the huge potential of the smartphone as a way to track the places people are visiting and keep them connected with their friends and followers. Everyone wants in on the location game, but one service that has been chugging along in the background with little mention is Google Latitude. Most people took Google’s location-based service as a bust, but Steve Lee is here to say, “Latitude is not dead.”
In fact, Lee points out this is far from fact, with Latitude now hosting 3 million active users. For reference, FourSquare just recently broke the 1 million mark. The user-base picks up a big boost thanks to Google’s smartphone platform, with over 10 percent of all Android users using the service.
The apparent low market penetration has a lot to do with iPhone users being less keyed-in to the service thanks to Steve Jobs and his anti-Google agenda. OK, so it might have less to do with that and more to do with Latitude operating as a background task, something that up until OS 4 the iPhone was incapable of. Lee also went on to suggest that Latitude may eventually gain explicit location abilities in combination with the already present implicit tracking (meaning FourSquare-like check ins).
Any Latitude users out there? Lee notes that 25 percent of those signed up to the service currently have zero friends, so maybe the real key in getting Latitude noticed is upping the social value of tracking your location. For now I will stick with FourSquare and continue on my quest to best all my friends in the weekly leader boards.