I love crime dramas, but one thing that always drove me a little nuts was how cell phone triangulation ? at least on TV ? rendered pinpoint accuracy of a perp's whereabouts. Viewers could always see the primary dot as it traveled down the street, stopped in for coffee, got a newspaper, ditched the murder weapon, etc?
Well, the new Google Latitude for iPhone isn't quite the same as the technology delivered on Law & Order: SVU ? but it's kind of close.
Google Latitude is a web app that makes tracking the movement of fellow iPhone users (with their consent and complicity, of course) a little easier. You can see your contacts? locations on a map and let others know your whereabouts, as well as use location search and directions.
If you?re an iPhone 3.0 user in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, you can just launch Safari on your phone and go to Google.com/latitude to get started.
The company first created Google Latitudes as an onboard app for the iPhone, but at Apple's request, re-tooled it as a web app to avoid confusion with its built-in Maps application. (Now that Safari can access location services, this was no problem.)
But be warned: Because the iPhone can't multitask, the web app can't update your location in the background. (Latitude users on Android, Blackberry, Symbian and WinMo apparently don't have this problem.) So if you forget to launch Safari to refresh Google Latitude, your Mom (or your spouse) might wonder why you've been at that hot friend's house for so long. To play it safe, you can keep your location continuously updated by making sure the app is running in the foreground ? at least until you get to your local church. Then, if you want, you're clear to go ahead and shut it off.