Fan of Google Maps? Use it a lot on your cell phones? Maybe you use Loopt to stay in touch with friends and family and check out what they’re up to and where they are? Well, starting today, Google’s new Latitude feature looks to steal their lunch. Google not only lets you see yourself on the map, but your friends as well (assuming they accept your invitation and opt-in to sharing their location with you). Google Maps for mobile with Latitude is available now for Android (it’s in the current RC33 update that’s being rolled out), Blackberry, Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile. The Apple iPhone version will be available soon as part of the Google Mobile App. And, if you don’t have a smartphone (uh, why are you even visiting this site?), you can even add the Google Latitude Gadget to your iGoogle homepage. If you use Google Gears or Google Chrome, the location of your desktop or laptop can be tracked, too. Pretty awesome stuff. Just don’t go askin’ any BGR writers to share their location, we’re pretty private people, you know.
Google announced on Tuesday a new iPhone application that allows you to make location based searches just by speaking a question into your iPhone. Your spoken question, “Where is the nearest Best Buy?” for example, is sent to Google’s server as a digital file and processed by Google’s server side voice recognition software. The converted query is then forwarded to Google’s search engine and the results are sent back to the handset, supposedly within seconds. Excellent! This is not a new concept as Microsoft already has its TellMe service, Yahoo has OneSearch and Nuance is in the process of developing its own Open Voice Search. What is interesting is Google’s choice of the iPhone and not Android for its launch platform which combines the iPhone, currently still the best selling handset in the US, with the world’s most popular search engine. Talk about bringing voice search to a large audience. The Google Mobile App with the new voice search is available now from the App store. Just to warn you, the voice search only supports U.S. English and only works with the iPhone. Sorry iPod Touch users, you need a microphone for this to work! If any of you iPhone owners out there test out the new Google voice search, give us a shout in the comments and let us know how it works for you. Hit the jump for a Google Video explaining the service.