Monday Google published two new applications that take advantage of Google Latitude. The first is a widget that allows you to show your location on your blog. I’ve currently got it added to the right column of my blog, but I don’t think that it fits the blog layout and probably won’t last. I’ve placed it on my About page if you want to see it in action. The second is the option of sharing your location in Gmail Chat. Both applications require you to be signed up for Google Latitude, natch, and wave some privacy restrictions since you are broadcasting your physical location. You can limit the location shown to city-level only as opposed to best available location, which provides a balance of information and privacy that I’m happy with.
The widget is a little HTML code that you can add to your blog and displays a Google Map with your location on it. I needed to tweak the sizing to fit in my WordPress blog template, but it seems to work well. One issue that the less privacy concerned among us should be aware of is that the widget can be easily copied from your blog and therefore used by someone else to keep tabs on you. If at some point you want to not be found using the widget then you must disable the widget from the Google Public Location Badge web page. Deleting the code from your blog does just removes one instance of where it is used, and does not end having the data broadcast and displayed somewhere else.
I can certainly see the potential for Google Latitude and these widgets are still only scratching the surface of its utility. More value will need to be shown for this application to make the jump to higher registration that will make even more useful applications possible creating the increasing user base fueling valuable application feedback loop that Google is hoping for. All that said, the widget is what got me to sign up.