Google Latitude: Friend Finder or Spyware?

Is it one of the coolest things ever or the latest stalker tool? Google Latitude, the new app that lets you track friends, family and co-workers from a PC or compatible phone, launched yesterday to mixed reviews.

Basically, Latitude is the latest addition to Google Maps. It’s totally opt-in, so as with most other location-based services, you can only see the location of folks who’ve given you permission to locate them.

Once you’ve found them, you can get in touch via SMS, Google Talk or Gmail, according to Google’s official blog. Initially, it works on BlackBerry, S60 and Windows Mobile platforms. An Android version is expected in the next couple of days and an iPhone app is coming “very soon.”

Check out the video to see how it works:

Despite promises from Google that it will protect users’ privacy, check out some of the headlines we found from pubs that don’t believe Google’s assurances:

PC World: Spy on Your Workers with Google Latitude

BBC: Google ‘puts spy in your pocket’

Mobile Magazine: Google Latitude is the Stuff of Stalkers and Big Brother