Google has added Location History to Google Latitude in its Maps 5.3 for Android application. Users may also check-in from home and leave tips via the Hotpot recommendation engine.
Google has shown a penchant for refining its mobile
strategy around the intersection of social and location and the trend continued
April 4 in the refreshed Google Maps 5.3 app for Android.
Google Maps 5.3 for Android now lets Google Latitude
users check-in at home from their smartphone and access their Google Location
History dashboard. Latitude is Google's friend-finding app to help users
connect via desktops and smartphones using GPS services.
Google risked the wrath of privacy advocates in November
2009 when it
Location History for Latitude, allowing desktop users to access their location
history in a personal dashboard.
While Location History is opt-in and users can delete any of their location history from the app's dashboard on their computers,
privacy buffs expressed
that law enforcement officials, the government or civil litigants
would use that info in crime solving and lawsuits.
Google has promised Latitude content will receive the same
special protections as other communications content.
Now Latitude Location History is portable on Android smartphones, as
Latitude's 10 million users can also see their dashboard on their
phones by tapping View location
history from their Latitude profile.
Google is encouraging Latitude users who haven't already
done so to enable Location History from their computer or from Latitude's Settings
menu on their phones.
The search engine in February added
check-in capability to Latitude, which has become Google's version of
Foursquare, complete with game mechanics. Users in Austin, Texas, for example,
coupons by checking into local businesses from their mobile phone.
Now Latitude users can check-in at home to let their
friends know they're at home instead of out and about. It's a small feature
addition, but it can help users keep from wondering where their friends are.
Users can check-in from Latitude and tap "Home - Tap
to set your location" at the bottom of the nearby places list. Users may
then pick the estimated current address or manually enter the home address. When a user has checked-in
at home once, "Home" will appear at the top of the list when checking
in near there in the future.
Users may set Location History so that their
"home" location is not searchable and only they can check in there.
Finally, Google Maps 5.3 for Android 5.3 lets users add
their own "aspects," or details about a place they visit after rating places on the go in the Maps app using Google
Places with the Hotpot recommendation engine. Think of it as Google Hotpot's version of Foursquare's
"Before, we'd automatically include aspects about
places that were commonly mentioned in reviews," said Kenneth Leftin, software
engineer, for the Google Maps for mobile team in a blog post
"Now, you can add your own aspects for each place. So if you think a place
has a beautiful view or great music, you can add it yourself and quickly share
it with the world."