Google has launched a new Mobile Maps application called Latitude, allowing users to share their locations with contacts via their mobile phone.
Latitude allows users to approximately pinpoint each other on Google Maps for mobile. After using a Google account to opt in to the feature, users can invite their contacts to sign up to Google Latitude, in order to keep track of their various locations.
This may sound like a nightmare for privacy-conscious users, but Google claims to have gone to great lengths to give Latitude users complete control over the information sent out - and to whom it is sent.
Latitude is an entirely opt-in service, giving users complete control over precisely who sees their location. If so inclined, users can give out false information about their whereabouts, and send different location information to every individual Latitude contact.
Google noted that, by clicking on a contact's profile picture displayed on the map, Latitude allows users to call, text, instant message or even email them, while also being able to provide directions to their location.
The search firm said that Latitude is currently available in 27 countries, spanning a variety of devices, including most BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 5.0 and Nokia Symbian S60 devices.
Google promised support for iGoogle users, Android-powered devices such as the T-Mobile G1 and Apple's iPhone in the near future.
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