Google-brand social mapping

Google just launched its version of social-mapping called "Latitude." It reportedly works on a lot of phones, not just Google's own Android, and people get the little app by going to Google's page on the subject, typing their mobile numbers into the box and getting a text message from Google with a download link in it, ComputerWorld reports. "The idea is you install Latitude on your cell phone and invite your geeky friends to do the same. Then they can see exactly where you are on a Google Map on their phone or the Web, and you can see them. Feel like hiding from the world? Tweak the privacy settings and you disappear. Or you can just X out certain friends when you're no longer feeling so friendly toward them." So if it sounds a little invasive, good, that means you'll work through the privacy features (and help your kids do the same). In fact, it's so easy to get that you might want to talk with your early adopters right up front about privacy features and why they're important. Latitude is not new, though. Three-year-old Loopt, also in Mountainview, Calif., is a pioneer in the social-mapping space, and particularly in user safety and privacy. Coverage in Forbes and CNET too.

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