As many of you know, I worked in the mobile location (LBS) space for nearly 4 years while GM of Seeker Wireless, and as such I still have a real passion for the LBS space.
I have been following closely what Google have been doing with Google Mobile Maps, Google latitude, and now the Google latitude API.
Today I read on the Google latitude site that they now have the ability to allow a badge or application to display your current location – as detected by Google mobile maps (GMM).
This is significant, because now bloggers and developers can use the power of Google’s massive location platform (with a user’s permission) to start to do some really smart things with location and LBS. In just 5 minutes, I was able to knock up a page with a google map of my current location using the code on the latitude API apps site.
One question remains – why would I want my public location available to everyone? Well firstly I have nothing to hide, and I also have complete control at both the GMM mobile application level as well as the latitude API website level to set what level of detail I share about my current location (accurate street address, suburb, city, state or country level).
Also, as an LBS advocate, I am keen to promote discussion around the valuable uses of live and historic location. It is a pity that the Google API does not integrate with Yahoo! Fire eagle but perhaps that will come in the future.
Previously, I was using blogloc, a very cool java app that takes your current GPS location and publishes it to fire eagle as well as a blog badge via Google maps. The problem was however that the blogloc java app required me to manually fire it up, and sync my location each time – and then only when I had a GPS fix.
The brilliance of the Google mobile application with latitude is that because of their massive Cell-ID and WiFi database, even if I am inside Google returns a location fix of reasonable accuracy.
Also you can run GMM in the background and have it update my location while on the move.
I’ve set up a page at lc.tl/loc8 which redirects to the page showing my current location and it is also mobile friendly – delivering a mobile sized map if it detects you are on a mobile browser.
Well done Google team – once again you have introduced a step-change to the mobile location space. Now it is over to the mobile developers to harness this significant resource for mobile advertising and mobile social networking.