Google announces an API for Latitude location service; watch out Foursquare

May 20, 2010

Google announces an API for Latitude location service; watch out FoursquareWhile Foursquare and Gowalla have been the two location based services everyone has been concentrating on as which might be the ultimate victor in the location-based services war. The question is, if a company like Google suddenly steps in, does the entire game change?

With all of the excitement over the likes of Foursquare, it seems most people forgot that Google had a product out for some time now called Latitude.  Just running quietly in the background, over 3 million people have already signed up for the Google location service, but no one ever seems to discuss it.  This may be because the service tracks you constantly, so there is no “checking in” or earning prizes.

All of that is set to change as Google announced that it will be launching an API (Application Programing Interface) that will allow people to build all sorts of different applications and layers on top of the system.  While check in services are a distinct possibility, it seems Google is hoping for some distinctly more innovative tools to be built such as:

  • Thermostats that turn on and off automatically when you’re driving towards or away from home.
  • Traffic that send alerts if there’s heavy traffic ahead of you or on a route you usually take based on your location history
  • Your credit card accounts to alert you of potential fraud when a purchase is made far from where you actually are.
  • Photo albums so your vacation photos appear on a map at all the places you visited based on your location history.

We’ll have to wait and see what exactly ends up happening, but someone trying to build a check in service seems almost like a certainty.

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