First off, I wanted to say thank you
for using Latitude. Depending on how you count, I've been working on it for three or five years. I carry its pager and I watch its monitoring and it wakes me up in the middle of the night but without Latitude I'd have never had the opportunity to learn what it is to make software that can enrich the lives of so many people. Its weird to know the servers I built and the apps I wrote are going to go into the ether but I'm okay with it. We're still working on location sharing and I'm still really happy with G+Location. Its a re-write of the Latitude stack but built for a world where social is a layer across all of the Google experience, not just deposited in a corner of Google Maps.
In a month, when Latitude goes dark, we'll have G+Location there, ready for us (Android is ready, iOS is on its way). And what's better is you can share your location with the people that you care about, they can see it on a map and they don't even have to do a single thing. No invites. No emails and links and websites and hooha. They just open G+ click on Location and see your happy face (or in my case: me fighting a giant robot).
My friends and I (Latitude team has moved beyond "co-workers") had to make some tough choices. What we could build, how we could rebuild it and what it meant for all of us who used Latitude every day.
I've been thinking about and working on Location for a long time but to make sure I understood what turning off Latitude would mean, I unfriended all 140 of my Latitude friends. I tried to live my life the way I did before Latitude and it was really hard! I'm a social person by serendipity. "Oh? Mike and Andrew are at the bar? It's a block away? I'm going there!" I also have a close relationship with my family. When I went dark, my Mom messaged me to find out what was going on.
I've sent out several "Share your location with me on G+" posts in the past month. I started from a clean slate like everyone else and wanted to see what it would be like. Being truthful, I don't see as many people on the map as I did before but the difference is quickly and steadily shrinking. I definitely see more people I care about now (three months after G+Location launched) than I did right after Latitude launched. This whole process really made me aware and confident that building anew was the right thing. Beyond that, I've seen some incredible demos that make me super excited about what the future holds for location sharing.+Andrew Oplinger
and I are going to be the engineers taking Latitude offline in a month's time. Its been incredibly rewarding for us to work on it. We love this product and we've tried our best to understand what it would mean for Latitude to go away and what we'd need to do to keep building on our vision. We know that with this change we'll be able to make people's lives even better and that's all we want to do. I've been doing this for a large part of my life and I'm going to continue doing it.
[As always, I am me and Google is Google. These are my thoughts, alone. Also thanks to the people who gave this a once-over before I published it to the world]