Google has been making some radical changes lately. Google services are shutting down left and right, including major ones like Google Reader and now Latitude. It’s not easy for many of us to accept it, but Google has bigger plans – will they work?
Google’s master plan is to make Google+ the center of your online life. Rumors say Google+ could become a news source and that is why Reader was shut down. In the same fashion, it was suspected that the Search Giant is closing down Latitude to push Google+ Locations.
In a Google+ post, Joe LaPenna summarizes his feelings about the matter. The Googler has been working on Latitude for 5 years, dedicating a significant part of his life to the project. He naturally feels bummed about the matter but believes the decision to be the right one.
LaPenna said he wanted to test the grounds himself and decided to delete his 140 Latitude friends. Then he tried to make the jump to G+ Locations. His life has been hard, but he says the service is getting a much better response compared to Latitude when it first launched.
Of course, it’s good to see Latitude’s functionality sticking to Google+. The social network is great and has the potential to grow. In fact, it more than likely will. Google is making sure of that with all these changes. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.
Google+ Locations offers the same features with a more user-friendly experience. You don’t need to send friend requests or anything. The user simply selects who he/she wants to share location with.
Just open the map on your Google+ Locations area and you will see where all your friends are, if they allow you to. In fact, when I went in and realized multiple users were already sharing their locations with me. This is the good part, now what is the problem with Google+ Locations?
Mainly, the fact that not everyone is using Google+ right now. The story would be different if we were talking about a social network like Facebook, but such is not the case. Most of my Google+ friends are not people I frequently see at all. Most of my friends and family don’t want to think about having to deal with yet another social network.
The advantage of Latitude was that you didn’t need to worry about joining a network. You just had to add your friends on Google Maps and share your location. Done. This is why I disagree with Joe when he mentions Latitude was just “deposited in a corner of Google Maps.”
Such was simply not the case, at least with the older design. And if it is, then the same applies to Google+. Both apps follow similar design concepts and have their location sharing options in similarly “hidden” places. You access a menu on the top-left corner and go down the menu to find it.
I am still upset about Latitude’s death, but I can live with it. I will just have to deal with the fact that it will take long before most of my friends can join the G+ Locations fun. Which means I gotta text, call, etc. to know where they are. What do you guys think, though? Will G+ Locations really be better than Latitude?
[Via Joe LaPenna]