Google Latitude: Location Sharing on Mobile

Google bought early mobile social networking service Dodgeball in 2005 and shuttered it in 2008. It also acquired the “Twitter-like” Jaiku in October of 2007. Google never really developed the Jaiku service and effectively jettisoned it, deciding to make the code open source for others to use and develop late last year.

The conventional wisdom (including mine) was that Google squandered an opportunity with these services — and especially — Dodgeball, which was well ahead of the mobile social networking curve that is now on the rise.

Well we might call the just-launched Google Latitude (part of a new version of Google Maps for Mobile) “son of Dodgeball,” although it’s more elegant and user friendly.

Steve Lee, Google’s product manager in charge of Latitude, told me that Latitude is not built on any of these prior acquisitions or technologies. But it is in a way a conceptual successor to those services. It also follows other, similar services from Loopt, Pelago/Whrrl and uLocate’s Buddy Beacon. There are some similarities to Yahoo Fire Eagle as well.

The rest of this post is at SEL.


3 Responses to “Google Latitude: Location Sharing on Mobile”

  1. Sebastien Provencher Says:

    Just tried it. It also makes me think of Brightkite. Only things missing right now are the ability to interact with places and a social network broadcaster à la to broadcast your status updates and actions. Given the current installed base of Google Maps on mobile devices and the ability of Google to leverage their Gmail users’ social graph, this could be a game changer.

    I wonder how long it takes for Facebook to introduce a similar tool…

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agree. Agree. Facebook can’t immediately do this but it’s a natural thing for them to pursue.

  3. Google Goes Mobile Social|Google Latitude | A Media Circus Says:

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