Google today announced yet another addition, called Latitude, to its mobile maps service. Latitude enables you to share your location with your friends, and see where your friends are (or at least where they want you to "think" they are). Through Latitude, you are able to connect with friends by sending them a text, chatting via Google talk or even getting directions to your friend's location. It works on any phone that can run Google Maps My Location.
To protect privacy, you can choose to show exactly where you are, show a general location, such as San Francisco, or manually set your own location. All of this can be controlled on a friend subset level, meaning you can give a different location status to co-workers than friends.
Google's merging of a utility like Google maps with social networking is a great opportunity for marketers. Until now, social apps like those on Facebook and MySpace were used when primarily when one wasn't doing anything else, making advertising to that person difficult for driving call to action. With Google Latitude, social networking is integrated into tools that people use while doing something or seeking something.
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Lee Mikles is CEO and founder of The Archer Group, a Wilmington, Del.-based interactive shop. Bob Archer is Lee's nom de plume when writing the internet marketing blog, Meet Bob Archer.