Location, location, location. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re really excited about all the ways location can make mobile apps and websites more useful. With Google Latitude, we created a simple way to share your location with whomever you like, display it wherever you like, and even keep a history of it if you want. We wanted to give you even more ways to use your location, so today we’re announcing the Google Latitude API -- an easy and safe way to build Latitude and location into any apps or features that you could possibly imagine!

Since launching Latitude, our team has been talking about all the cool things you could do with your continuously updated Latitude location. While we’ve built some of our ideas, there are simply too many exciting ones for us to do alone. Instead, we wanted to let developers create apps that do even more with Latitude and location. You could, for example, build apps or features for:
  • 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 want to help developers build all these applications and more, but our first priority is privacy and making sure we give users control over their location. That way, it’s only used when, where, and how users choose. When you request access to Latitude users’ data, users will have to specifically grant access to your domain after seeing exactly what data is being requested. You may request to update and view users’ best available location, view only their city-level location, and/or update and view their location history if they’ve opted in to using Google Location History. Users will also be able to revoke access from any developer at any time from their Google Account’s personal settings. Just like with Latitude, the user always chooses who can see their location.

We’ve also learned that making a phone’s continuous location available in the background is tricky to do accurately and efficiently -- just imagine your phone’s battery life if several apps were continuously getting your location in different ways. With this in mind, we wanted to build a free and open Latitude API that lets you just start using your users’ updated locations in new ways without reinventing the wheel.

To get started, go to http://code.google.com/apis/latitude to read our API documentation. Then, join the Latitude API Google Group to ask questions, discuss the API with the community, and give us feedback. The Latitude API is being launched in Labs so we can listen to developer feedback before it graduates. We’re excited to see what you can do with Latitude and location so please let us know what you think!