flurry of activity streaming from today's Google I/O event, the mobile team at Google has announced the launch of a free Application Programming Interface (API) for its Latitude location service. The API will allow developers to build location-aware apps that can take advantage of Latitude's "always on" location information, opening the door for unique implementations beyond the location-based check-in battle.Amidst the
The possibilities for this API should be exciting to mobile developers. As Google points out, the API could be used to develop apps that control your house's thermostat when you leave or return home, alert you when bad traffic is ahead of you during your commute or even warn you when your credit card is used far from your actual location.
After the privacy concerns raised over the hasty rollout of Buzz, Google is being very careful to integrate privacy controls into the Latitude API. Users will have to grant access for the applications they chose to use and will be able to control whether the apps can see their best available location or a city level location.
With its Latitude API, Google is in a way providing a free and open alternative to SimpleGeo, which provides a similar back-end location infrastructure but charges applications with over 1 million users. The ability for app developers to easily leverage Google's network of Latitude users for free could lead to the creation of some truly unique location-aware applications.