Got 60 friends? Spell out a message with Google Latitude

I came across this rather nifty proof-of-concept video from the Google Latitude team.

Latitude, if you’re not familiar with it, is an add-on to Google Maps that (amongst other features) overlays an avatar of your friends on Google Maps. So if you’re out-and-about you can see their location. Or if you’re on your desktop you can see a large Google Map of your friends.

Typically innovative, Google decided to take things to the next level. Wouldn’t it be neat that, if you had sufficient friends each with a T-Mobile G1 (for example), you could position them on the map to spell out a message.

Granted, you’d need to have quite a bit of spare time. But it’s doable, right?


The Google Latitude team stuck their money where their mouth is and had a bit of fun, thus:

That there is a screenshot of a Google Maps screen spelling out ‘Hi Mom’ across central San Francisco. Each little square you see is an avatar representing a physical Google team member with a phone standing in the corresponding physical location in San Francisco.

The enterprising chaps also made a video documenting the process of setting this up:

There is, I suspect, limited value in spelling out messages using your friends on Google Maps / Latitude. But it’s a super proof-of-concept for the technology.

And a reminder to get on Latitude.

Latitude, of course, isn’t yet available for the iPhone so that’s most of San Francisco ruled out. But for everyone back in Europe sporting your common-or-garden N-Series Nokia device, perhaps it’s time you and your friends spent this Saturday spelling out ‘Hello Your Majesty’ across a map of London.

(You’ll need about 10-12 friends per character.)

Originally published on and automatically republished here on Mobile Industry Review. View the original post.

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