A few weeks ago Google wanted to insure you that their Google Latitude service was in fact far from being dead, and now they are offering it as an API for developers to use in any mobile app they so choose. Perhaps learning from the Buzz privacy fiasco, the emphasis is on users having complete control over how third party applications access and use your Latitude info. With that being said, some of the uses Google envisions for third party Latitude uses:
- Thermostats that turn on and off automatically when you’re driving towards or away from home.
- Traffic that send alerts if there’s heavy traffic ahead of you or on a route you usually take based on your location history
- Your credit card accounts to alert you of potential fraud when a purchase is made far from where you actually are.
- Photo albums so your vacation photos appear on a map at all the places you visited based on your location history.
Again, users will need to specifically grant Latitude access to an app before it can begin using the service, but I think this is a great way to get more people interested in Google’s location-tracking venture. It allows Latitude to be both its own location-aware social service while also allowing it to enhance currently existing social networking applications or create all new uses completely separate of any social connection.
Developers can find the API at code.google.com/apis/latitude and join the Latitude API Google Group to discuss or ask questions. Google also encourages those currently using Latitude to consider some of the apps alright out there using it.
[via Google Mobile Blog]