Google Latitude, a location sharing service, is shutting down. There's not much of a surprise to this; the system was never very popular, with only (by various accounts) 5 or 9 or some other very small number of people using it. (I kid, but not by much). The best application for it appeared to be very close groups like families who wanted to keep track of where various family members were at the moment. It never got much of a public workout.
I've used social location sharing services since Plazes first came out in 2005 or so, and each of them has their obvious utility and the corresponding creepy factor. I think part of the problem is that people don't know really how to use the extra sense of knowing where their friends are at the moment. There's a fine line between awareness of where someone else is and the sense that you're stalking them, and most systems generate at least one creep-out situation before too long and then you decide to back away from them.
The newest location sharing service I'm using is Waze, which bills itself as a social GPS. It is useful if you're driving, not if you're walking, and it's primarily valuable for having better real-time traffic feedback than most GPS systems including the ability to reroute based on actual current conditions. The social aspect is extremely minimal so far (a few beep-beeps at one friend) but the availability of near real time traffic conditions and commentary from in the car is fascinating enough. It does seem to drain the battery of my Nexus 4 more than most apps.
Nat Torkington (@gnat) reminds us that in the small world of the Internet, everything is deeply intertwingled:
@vielmetti it all comes full circle. @DiAnnEisnor, behind Plazes, became bigwig @ Waze, recently acquired by GOOG, which is closing Latitude
— Nat Torkington (@gnat) July 10, 2013
It's a small world indeed, and someone knows where you are right now.
Corollary: Leave your phone on a moving bus, buy yourself another hour if you’re trying to escape the NSA, etc.