Just wanted to briefly mention some new and updated geo-social networking tools that I thought would be of interest to the blogging and micro-blogging (a.k.a., Twitter) geocaching community out there.While these are not strictly geocaching tools per se, a significant number of geocachers out there use these, and similar tools, on a daily basis.
As if Google doesn't already control the world, they recently added another tool to their arsenal. Latitude (nice name, by the way) is Google's foray into the location-based social networking arena. It's similar to applications like Loopt and Brightkite, which have been around longer and seem to be more popular (at the moment). All these tools let you see where your friends are and what they're up to (and they, you) from either a mobile phone or desktop. Latitude is nicely integrated into Google Maps on your phone and as a widget on your iGoogle desktop.
This week, Google upped the ante by adding more functionality to Latitude. Now you can set Latitude to automatically update your Google Talk or Gmail chat status message with your location. In addition, Google now provides a "badge" that lets you publish your Latitude location on your blog or website, as I've done in the column to the right in this blog. You can learn more about these new features here.
This Google Maps and Twitter mash-up lets you search for any Twitter topic at any location. For example, the screenshot below shows the result of searching for tweets about 'geocaching' near San Francisco.
On the flip side, Geo Twitter lets you tweet from a Google Map. You just zoom into your location on the map and press 'Tweet'. Geo Twitter then automatically "tweets" your current location, using the #ll hastag, and your longitude and latitude coordinate pairs. It also adds your tweet to the map on the Geo Twitter page. It will be interesting to see if the #ll tag catches on in Twitter.
And finally, there's TweetPhoto, a nice little program that lets you share photos on Twitter from your desktop or mobile phone. What seems to set it apart from similar applications like Twitpic is that it also lets you interact with any user or any photo that's been posted. For example, you can see who's viewed photos, mark photos as "favorites" or retweet them, and see just the photos posted by your Twitter and Facebook friends if you want (rather than the Public Stream view). It also lets you publish your photos to both Twitter and Facebook at the same time, and it automatically geotags the photos and displays their locations on a map.
I hope you give some of these new and/or improved tools a try and find some of them useful in your daily geo-social networking lives. I'd love to hear your impressions of the applications listed here.
Cache and Geo-Locate On!