Google Latitude

Google Latitude -- the service that either allows you to keep track of your friends or be stalked by stalking stalker types, depending on your point of view -- is finally available for the iPhone and iPod touch. No, it's not built into Google Maps as part of iPhone 3.1 with push update capability. No, it's not built into Google Mobile app. No, it's not even set up as an iPhone app in and of itself.

Google Latitude is a WebApp and it runs in Mobile Safari using the iPhone 3.0 geoLocation feature.

Apparently Apple, in their infinitely-looped wisdom, hasn't yet deigned (or Google wouldn't yet offer them the chance?) to build it into Maps, and Apple decided it would be too confusing to users to have another app on the iPhone thats shows the same Google maps. (And it's not when simply framed by mobile browser chrome? Sigh.)

While Google inarguably makes among the best iPhone WebApps in the business, this doesn't strike us an ideal solution. Still it is a solution for iPhone users desperate to get their Latitude on. Until Apple gets their act together on this, here's official word from the blog:

Our Latitude web app provides all the core functionality you might expect: you can see the location of your friends on a map and modify your privacy settings so that you control how your location is shared and with whom. In fact, if my friends and colleagues back in London haven't yet noticed my absence, they'll see in Latitude that I'm currently vacationing on the beach in Australia. Hi guys, remember me!?

[...] To try Google Latitude, type into your iPhone's browser. And if you miss the experience of launching the app directly from your home screen, you can add a bookmark to the home screen by opening Latitude in Safari and tapping the + icon > Add to Home Screen > Add.

Wonder if Steve Jobs is already using it to follow Eric Schmidt....?