Google has announced the launch of Google Latitude, an opt-in feature for Google Maps for mobile that allows users to share their location with friends and family. Users can opt in to the feature, and then invite friends and family to join Google Latitude. Once they accept, users will see their profile picture appear on a map through their mobile device. Google says that Google Latitude can help users meet up spontaneously when they see a friend near them, feel more connected to distant friends and family or connect with friends at large gatherings such as sporting events or concerts. Using Google Latitude, users can click on a friend's icon on the map to call, text, instant message or email them. Latitude can also give directions to their location.
Once a user has shared their location, they can hide it from individual friends or all of their friends at once, or turn off Google Latitude completely at any time. Privacy settings can be adjusted to enable users to share as much or as little about their location as they want, with whom they want.
Google Latitude is available in 27 countries, and across a variety of devices, including most colour BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 5.0+ and Symbian S60 devices. Google says that support for iGoogle users and Android-powered devices such as the T-Mobile G1, and Apple's iPhone is coming soon.
You can download the latest version of Google Maps for mobile, including Google latitude, here.