If you eagerly updated your Android device to the shiny new version of Google Maps yesterday, only to despair at the absence of Google's Latitude location tracking/sharing service, there's a good reason for that. Latitude is going the way of Google Reader, and the service will disappear completely on August 9th. Google has made the change official on the "About Latitude" page of the Maps for mobile support hub, explaining that Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, and the various web services will be retired as well. You've got just under a month to say your goodbyes.
Google hasn't technically said so, but Latitude appears to be the latest service casualty to fall to the company's expanding focus on Google+. The latest version of Google+ for Android includes the ability to check in to locations and share current locations in new posts, and the functionality will be coming to the iOS app before too long. Those who want more up-to-the minute location data from consenting friends and family appear to be without an option starting in August, at least within the sphere of Google services.
Here's the relevant text from Google's blog post on the Maps update:
One important change you should know about is that Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9. We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we've added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS). More details about Latitude and check-in changes can be found in our help center.
There are no official usage numbers for Google Latitude, but we get the impression that its user base has been slipping for the last couple of years. That isn't to say that no one is using it - there's someone that cares about every service, after all - but Google+ really is a better solution for regular users. It's a shame that we have to say goodbye to the more map-specific portion of Latitude; I know at least one family that uses it as an emergency child tracker.