There was a bit of a false start with Google’s location-sharing service last week, but today Latitude for iPhone is now available to download for free.
Google Latitude is a service typically bundled in with their mobile Maps app that uses a smartphone’s GPS unit to share your location with a set of trusted friends. You can hide your location whenever you want, and you get to pick and chose specific contacts who have access to the information. It’s a bit more specific than services like Facebook Places, Foursquare, or Gowalla, which only share your location when you actively check in to specific spots. By contrast, Latitude is always humming away.
The iPhone version is a long time coming, as Android, BlackBerry, and Symbian have all been rocking Latitude for awhile. Until last spring the iPhone couldn’t handle multitasking, and as such a Latitude app couldn’t quietly run in the background, sending GPS coordinates to the mothership while users went about their business. Google offered a clunky web-based alternative, but now that multitasking on iPhone is pretty commonplace, owners can now get onto Google’s location-sharing bandwagon.
Update: O hai official blog post and video.