When Google updated Maps earlier this summer, Latitude was no where to be found. It turned out that the days of Google's location tracking and sharing service were over. We suspect that Latitude is another victim of Google+, which introduced the ability to check into locations and share current locations in new posts not long before Google announced that it was retiring Latitude. Today is the last day to export your data from the service, so hop on it if you want to maintain access to this data.
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.
So Google Maps hit version 6.8 yesterday, bringing with it the crazy Zagat/Google+ mashup that was detailed earlier. The "What's New" section in the Play Store lists "See reviews from experts and people you know," "Find just the right places with Zagat scores and summaries," "Get directions directly from map bubbles," but they left out the most interesting new change: "Unreleased feature assets buried in the APK."
For starters, we've got some brand new image files.
The official Google Maps app has been updated again, this time with a major addition to Latitude - check-ins. Just as Hotpot seemed to be a Yelp-killer, Google must now have Foursquare in its sights, because Latitude's check-ins have a few major advantages over Foursquare and its competitors.
Latitude will notify you when it recognizes your location, giving you the option to check-in wherever you are. However, you can also set up automatic check-ins for only the places you want, an incredibly convenient feature that still covers any privacy concerns.