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July 12, 2013

Beyond Google Latitude

Joe LaPenna, from Google, wrote an interesting post on Google+ about Google Latitude and the future of location sharing. He worked on Google Latitude for 5 years and he'll take Latitude offline in one month.

"We're still working on location sharing and I'm still really happy with G+ Location. Its a rewrite of the Latitude stack but built for a world where social is a layer across all of the Google experience, not just deposited in a corner of Google Maps. In a month, when Latitude goes dark, we'll have G+ Location there, ready for us (Android is ready, iOS is on its way). And what's better is you can share your location with the people that you care about, they can see it on a map and they don't even have to do a single thing. No invites. No emails and links and websites and hooha. They just open G+ click on Location and see your happy face," says Joe.

After unfriending all the 140 people contacts from Google Latitude and switching to Google+ location sharing, Joe noticed something striking: "I don't see as many people on the map as I did before but the difference is quickly and steadily shrinking. I definitely see more people I care about now (three months after G+ Location launched) than I did right after Latitude launched. This whole process really made me aware and confident that building anew was the right thing."

I think it makes sense to move Google Latitude to Google+. Having a separate list of friends you have to manage made sense before Google+ was released, but now it's cumbersome and unnecessary. What doesn't make sense is Google's migration path: instead of adding Google Latitude's features to Google+ and providing a way to import your Google Latitude friends, Google discontinued Latitude and announced everyone that the list of friends will be deleted. Oh, and there's a Google+ location sharing feature, but it only shows a map in the Android app and you'll have to find a way to enable it and add your contacts. Why not automate my instructions from this post and why not discontinue Latitude when there's a decent replacement in all Google+ flavors?


{ via Search Engine Roundtable }

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