Brady Forrest over at O’Reilly Radar has a new post that highlights an unofficial release of preliminary API for Latitude, Google’s geo-location sharing service. Although the API has not been formally identified by Google, the API can be seen in use in two new apps: the new Google Location Blog Badge and Google Talk Location Status.
As Brady notes:
On the blog badge page, below the fold there are two URLs that will show up *after* you turn on the blog badge (so it wasn’t that sneaky, you just had to scroll below the fold or look on their Geo Developers blog to learn about it). Developers can get access to their own or other users’ location with these URLs. The URLs let you access the data as KML or JSON. They look like:
KML -> http://www.google.com/latitude/apps/badge/api?user=
JSON -> http://www.google.com/latitude/apps/badge/api?user=
These are just the first signs of Google’s Latitude API. This is a barebones release that I think is designed to see what developers do with it and how people react to public sharing (geo-broadcasting). These initial feeds do support multiple users (just add another ID separated by a comma) and could be used to build many types of apps. Let me know if you build one for yourself or others.
So it looks as if Google is taking a first step and likely testing the waters to see how readily the undocumented API is adopted (perhaps reminiscent in some ways, to the early hacking that occured with Google Maps). Google’s geolocation service currently provides a subset of the functionality provided by similar services, namely Yahoo!’s Fire Eagle geo-location broker service (our Fire Eagle API profile).
It will be interesting to see how quickly the API is adopted by developers. A quick follow-up story at Radar notes that the folks at mapme.at, already use Google’s API to update Fire Eagle (we just added the mapme.at API to our directory last week). Be sure to check out the rest of Brady’s post, which includes a general prediction of additional functionality we may see in the Latitude API in the near future.