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The one drawback of being so heavily into both the latest technologies and cool Internet applications is that when the two seamlessly combine to form the ultimate, ultra-useful application with unlimited potential – it causes you to break into a cold sweat from just the excitement alone. Once I realized that someone can trace a mobile phone location with Google Latitude was possible, I had to run around the block a few times to burn off my excitement before sitting down to write this article.

How Tracing a Mobile Phone Location With Google Latitude Works

The cool thing about Google Latitude is that there are really no fancy, expensive gadgets required. All you need is a mobile phone and you can build what’s essentially a GPS network of friends, without the need for GPS technology. Wondering whether your buddy Jim is still at work? Just log onto Google Latitude, or check Google Maps on your phone, and sure enough, Jim’s icon shows up on the map where he works. Did your best friend go missing after her date the other night? If she left her phone on, all of her friends can check out where she’s currently located.

The potential uses of this technology are amazing, and Google is just getting started by integrated it’s cellular triangulation technology with Google Maps. MakeUseOf authors previously covered similar applications, such as NavXS and BuddyWay. However, BuddyWay requires that the phone or PDA is GPS enabled. The convenience of Google Latitude is that you don’t need GPS, and it’ll work on almost any mobile phone that can use Google Maps. According to Google, these include Android-powered devices, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 5.0+ and Symbian.

tracing a mobile phone location

Setting it up is as easy as typing your phone number into the entry field on the Google Latitude main page, or you can visit “google.com/latitude” with your mobile device and install it directly. It’s basically the latest version of Google Maps with Latitude embedded. Once you’ve installed this version on your phone, you’re good to go – just click on “Menu” and then “Latitude.”

Setting Up Google Latitude With a Network of Friends

Setting up the application on your mobile device is a piece of cake. Once you open Latitude on your phone, you can immediately start adding friends with their email address. If none of your friends have Latitude installed on their phones yet, forward them this article and tell them to install it!

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trace mobile number location

When you first fire up the map after you’ve enabled Latitude with your profile, you’ll immediately see your regular Google map pointer replaced by your picture icon, email address and your location the last time your device was polled.

trace your cell phone

This is cool and everything, and as I outlined in a previous MakeUseOf article Google Maps Adds GPS Tracking To Mobile Phones Google Maps Adds GPS Tracking To Mobile Phones Read More on Google Maps, this application does a great job keeping the map updated with your status within a certain radius, depending on where the nearest cell towers are. However, while keeping track of yourself on the map while you’re driving or walking around town is fun, it can get pretty boring when you’re doing it alone. Latitude lets you have a little bit of fun with your network of friends by letting you add each of them to your Latitude “friends” list so that you can see their locations too. To test this feature, I called up a friend of mine with a Blackberry down in Derry, New Hampshire, and asked him to fire up Latitude and add me as a friend. Once we confirmed each other as friends, I instantly showed up on his map and he showed up on mine!

added friend

When you click on your friend’s icon, you can see their contact and location information, or you can choose how you want to share your own information with this specific friend. This means that you can pick and choose the level of privacy that you want for your own status updates based on individual friends. You can provide your exact location to your best friend, while keeping your details somewhat vague for your parents. Also, within the Latitude menu, you can set your privacy level for everyone across the board.

privacy

You can toggle your privacy settings back and forth, so that when you’re somewhere that you don’t want anyone to know about, you just flip your status to “Hide your location.” When you’re back where you’re supposed to be, you just flip your privacy back to “Detect your location.” If you want to fool your friends (or your boss) into thinking that you’re somewhere you’re not, you can manually set your location.

Using Google Latitude Online

Of course, tracing a mobile phone location isn’t enough for Google. This is the part that really made me raise my eyebrows. Google has incorporated this mobile technology into an online gadget that you can view and manipulate from your iGoogle page.

igoogle5

This means that even if you don’t have your mobile phone with you, but you have access to the Internet, you can check out where all of your friends are at the moment, or update your own location on Latitude so that they know where you are. This whole concept takes the whole architecture and intent of Twitter and adds another entire level of graphical interactivity to it, with visual, real-time status updates for your friends. The next evolution of this technology that I envision is the ability to embed a Google Latitude widget in your blog or web page that allows you to share your own Latitude location information with your readers. Since the status bar already exists for short text updates, this feature would turn Google Latitude into a more graphical version of Twitter.

Have you ever used any of the latest “friend tracking” mobile phone technologies for tracing a mobile phone location? Which one is your favorite? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

  1. christ
    July 20, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Hi frnds,
    i lost my phone.. but i con't able to search. please help to find my phone using gps.

    • Mike Cecil
      July 30, 2016 at 5:25 am

      If its apple i Find My Iphone or or Samsung Back Country GPS.

  2. Slava Verna
    June 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    try spytomobile application

  3. Slava Verna
    June 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I recommend you the app which shows WhatsApp messages and calls. It is completely invisible and works great.

    • ashegh
      August 15, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Please go chat me in the telegram. my telegram's ID is Dardeferagh.
      I am a student and I desire friendship you.

  4. prashant
    May 16, 2016 at 4:14 am

    here all are questions no answer

  5. Christiana
    May 9, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Is this site a hoax or what? I have paid for a subscription of One year to be able to use this tool, on how to trace a mobile phone number anywhere in the world and I still have not been able to use it.please how can I get a refund of my money.

  6. yugi
    March 17, 2016 at 8:34 am

    please help me. I want to track my girl friend. urgent please

    • Damien
      March 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      i'm tryin to do the same thing

    • yugi
      March 31, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      did u find any tool??

    • Damien Lopez
      April 1, 2016 at 11:12 am

      I didn't i'm sorry buddy

    • jeffrey
      April 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      please help me,how can i track if where is my husband?

  7. Hemant kumar arya
    March 16, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Awesome post. Now We can track any phone in just 5 minutes and get the exact location when is your phone.
    You helped me alot so I just wanna say thanks to you...
    Thank you ?

  8. arsal khan
    February 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    how i can trace the locaton of any stranger through gmail account ???????? plz tell me

  9. markaini sm
    November 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

    how about iKeyMonitor Spy App for iPhone and Android?I saw they have free trial available to download.

  10. Nusawarna Printing
    October 27, 2015 at 2:53 am

    bisakah itu dipergunakan di negara saya? (indonesia)

  11. Ryan Dube
    April 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Only if you install software like this that lets you.

  12. alfred m
    April 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Is there really a way of tracking a friend by their cell phone?

  13. Mohammad rizwan
    April 6, 2015 at 9:20 am

    how i can trace last Exit location of my mobile where off.any body can help me

  14. wedrod
    February 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Will the person know you are tracking their phone

  15. Apoorv hendre
    February 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    My couaen sister was gone
    from my home because fighting with her please help.me

  16. hamed
    December 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    kiram to roheton downloadesh kojas in kar bahash chejoriyee ridam b in radyabiton

  17. asif
    December 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    plz trace this no 03034971712

  18. tj
    February 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

    One thing if you are squeeky clean. Another if you are being tracked or you are a member of anything the Gov is querrying about. Its very very dangerous to get yourself tracked. You are basically opening up yourself to everyone who can look for you, even the FBI or any other entity.

  19. ayu
    January 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    no...it cant work with my phone. do any one know here how to locate phone number (especially a phone which is not configure with a google map such as the old phone)
    im sure no body know it because old technology can be safe

  20. Johnny Doe
    December 27, 2009 at 1:38 am

    This also works on wifi. I guess google or someone goes out and maps the latitude and longitude of wireless access points and it will display your location that way. It's pretty accurate also, to within 300 meters. I was surprised to find that they had mapped the Wifi in my neighborhood.

  21. Pratik
    December 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Hey friends I have a query I hope u’ll me. If I am not interested to join Google Latitude then am I able to find location of people with their numbers…??
    I search on internet then I got the results only to find the state but I need help to find the proper address…!!
    Can anyone of u help me out from this problem plzzzz…??

  22. Ritesh
    December 4, 2009 at 10:40 am

    How can I get the location of my friends cell number

    • Ryan Dube
      December 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

      Google Latitude has to be installed on the phone for it to work, your friend needs to be willing to install and run Google Latitude on their phone. After that, you can trace their phone no matter where they are.

  23. Alex
    November 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Informative, however, does it really work? Thanks for reply.

  24. sourabh
    October 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    hi manoj can u tell me from where can i download the software to locate the mobile by tower location

  25. Zelda 1
    October 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I have 5 Cell phones on my US Cellular Family package.
    Mine is the only one that has Win Mobile, the others are the typical cell phones. I have the HTC Touch Pro,it has lattitude on it & I use it.
    I want to be able to track them some how with lattitude,
    Or some other application, preferrably on my cell phone.

  26. tashkeel
    October 3, 2009 at 1:52 am

    yea there is a way you can find mobile number by imei number no: then location by that number.

  27. tashkeel
    October 3, 2009 at 1:51 am

    yea there is a way you can find mobile number is imei number no: then location by that number.

  28. Esha
    September 18, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Hey friends I have a query I hope u'll me. If I am not interested to join Google Latitude then am I able to find location of people with their numbers...??
    I search on internet then I got the results only to find the state but I need help to find the proper address...!!
    Can anyone of u help me out from this problem plzzzz...??

  29. UCI Study
    September 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    We are researchers studying people’s attitudes towards Google Latitude. If you have heard of Google Latitude (whether you have used it or not) and are at least 18 years old, we would like to talk with you. Please email us back at ucistudy@ics.uci.edu .

    We are conducting this research under the Institute for Software Research at the University of California, Irvine.

  30. Claire
    September 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    My phone was stolen a few hours ago (D:), and I was searching the internet for hours on end trying to find the EXACT location on my phone. It was brand new and the best phone I have ever had... so I won't stop until I find it.

    Can it track the exact latitude and longitude location it is at at that current time?

  31. Ryan Dube
    August 25, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Hey Desmond - thanks for your comment & question. No, Google Latitude will work across the globe wherever there are cell towers (cellular service). Give it a shot and let us know how it works for you!

  32. Desmond
    August 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Hey RYAN,you gat a nice posts here.I appreciate.But I have this question. Is this whole thing dependent on ones geographical area? I'm commenting from nigeria. So is it really possible here?

  33. chiru
    August 19, 2009 at 1:54 am

    as well as good desistion

  34. Matt
    August 1, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Try mr tracker from mrxsystem.com works pretty good. I've been using it for work purposes for atleast 3 months now. it allows you track a mobile phone by sms. abit freeky but works great.

  35. Pallav
    July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    my g-map is giving me a weird location. even when I'm in Mysore, India. it's showing my location in Ukraine. can any body help.

  36. Al
    July 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    My blackberry keeps running latitude in the background (eats up the battery) How to i turn off as i can find the latitude logon/off screen on my phone

  37. sudha
    June 30, 2009 at 11:01 am

    If any way to trace mobile through IMEI No.

    • Silent
      July 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      I'd be interested in that fo show!~

  38. SamayCSA
    June 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for a great article, I just wanted to let you know that Microsoft has a similar technology, that lets you find your laptop anywhere on Microsoft's Virtual Earth, its called Microsoft Location Finder. Note that this does not need any mobile connectivity, just the Wi-Fi capabilty of your laptop, and it will post the location of your laptop. I did a detailed article on this, if you are interested please have a look at:

    • Samaycsa
      June 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm

      For some reason I left out the URL in the previous post, here it is again indiawebsearch.com/content/what-is-microsoft-location-finder

    • Dana
      March 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Ryan morning no I have no comment. I have another problem. I am trying to find the location of where my son is at this stage. We have some difficulties in the past and he left our town without any notification a year ago. It start working on his mother and I have no answer for her. AlI have is a cell number. How can I find his location just to show to her okay he is there.

  39. Russell
    May 30, 2009 at 3:44 am

    I cant use it on my mobile... but is it possible can i use it on net ?

    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:31 am

      Yes - if you go to the Google page listed in this article, there's an online map associated with your account. You can set your current location manually using that map so that even if your mobile doesn't update Google Latitude, you still can.

  40. sufyan
    May 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I started playing with this and a few friends as soon as I heard of it. I only really see it being useful beyond a novelty in an innocent sense for a) finding your phone when lost or stolen/your friend if kidnapped and b) at a parade or some big public out door event where you want to have an easier time coordinating with lots of friends where to hang out etc. meet up.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:30 am

      I think the usefulness is limited only by creativity. For example, what about these uses:

      1. Several family members traveling over the holidays to a single location, everyone can see how close everyone else is.
      2. A project manager could use it to identify where all his/her field agents are with one glance.
      3. Long-distance truck-driving companies could use it as a low-cost (free) alternative to using GPS for locating where there trucks are currently at.

      etc...the list goes on and on, folks just need to have some imagination.

  41. INTERESTING
    May 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    INTERESTING APP...BUT NOTHING TO DO WITH TWITTER ,ETC; THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT 'WEB 2.0' IS GETTING PEOPLE INVOLVED. ANYTHING AUTOMATED IS BORING. PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO JUST LOOK AT A GIANT MAP OF WHERE THEY'RE FRIENDS ARE. THEY WANT TO HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WHERE THEY ARE, AND THEY WANT TO SEE WHAT THE OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT AS WELL!! THE ABILITY TO INTERACT IN A FUN, FRIENDLY AND SIMPLE INTERFACE. I HAVE A START UP I'M DEVELOPING, IF ANYONE'S INTERESTED E-MAIL ME AND WE'LL CHAT.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:26 am

      That's why google provided the ability for you to add updates/comments which will show up. This is essentially just like a Twitter update (which all your friends viewing you on the map can see) except it's in graphical format.

  42. Ryan Dube
    May 6, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Hi Shreela, great question. Yes, if you look on the Google Latitude page, just below the login there's an option to add the widget to iGoogle. I don't believe you need to enter your phone number to do that? Just log in with your Google ID and it'll get added, then you can manually enter your location on that page. Good luck, and let me know if you run into any brick walls... I've never considered the non-phone approach, but both you and Mike bring up some excellent non-PDA uses.

  43. Ryan Dube
    May 6, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Hey Michael...haha, I hear ya on the Internet connection while driving point. Can't tell you how many times my wife has scolded me to "put that thing away!" My phone, that is... Anyway, yes, you need to be able to run Google Maps on your phone, and most standard cellphones either can't, or they don't have the data plan to support it, as you point out. On the flip side, you CAN add the widget to iGoogle and manually set wherever you are (or are going to be) so that friends and family know what's up. You make a good point though - Google really should consider allowing people to somehow text there location to Latitude after signing up..that would be a cool feature...

    • aimee
      January 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      idont have internet on my phone am i able to track it down on my pc internet?

  44. Michael The Dumb Tech Geek
    May 6, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Does Google have a blog we can make these suggestions to? I've got some issues with Google Calendar as well.

  45. Shreela
    May 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I want to join, but don't want to put in my phone number. I just want to manually enter my nearest major intersection so people would know which part of town I'm from. But I can't see a way to join without providing my phone number.

    • jacksparrow
      January 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

      then wats the point of the whole thing??

  46. Michael The Dumb Tech Geek
    May 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I think it is quite cool that you can track your location even without the GPS functionality. But my question behind this service was, is a data plan necessary? I'd love if it weren't, but since "accessing sites from your phone" kept getting mentioned I'm thinking a data plan is a necessity for this service. Which is a shame because I'm all about the texting but can't justify the expense of a data plan since the only place I don't have an Internet connection is when I'm driving. And everyone who loves me doesn't WANT me to have a connection at those times :-)

  47. Rasputin
    May 3, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    The drawback to Google Latitude is that it doesn't run in the background. If you switch to another application, your position updates will stop.

    • Omar Qureshi
      May 4, 2009 at 1:13 am

      Not true - it actually depends on your mobile device / operating system. On BlackBerry and Symbian handsets, Google Maps/ Latitude runs in the background and keeps updating the location.

  48. wow
    May 3, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I think this is totally scary. What ever happened to privacy? When will they have a i-poop app that tweets my color and level of stink of my poop? Seriously, too much info.

  49. Ryan Dube
    May 3, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Yeah - it resolution depends a great deal on where the nearest cell towers are. My friend and I tested it this weekend to see how accurate it was. He has Verizon and there's a cell tower right in town - it had his location correct right down to town level (not building - it can't do that). My resolution was more vague, it had me in the next town over, and I'm assuming it's because that's where the AT&T cell tower was located. In the end though, it shows you more or less where your friends are (if they "share out" their position, that is). Privacy IS a setting within Google Latitude, and you can even turn off your location if you like so you essentially go "invisible" to either all friends, or select ones, as outlined in the article. Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

    • Kranz
      May 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm

      Latitude uses GPS if it is available on your phone, which makes the location reporting far more accurate.

      In addition to being able to turn of sharing of your position, you can also custom set your position that is shared. You could potentially say you are in NYC when you are really in LA.

  50. Lint
    May 3, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Resolution is vague, you can't even be sure if someone is really at that street or the next, or the next one.
    And I'm talking about a gps-enabled device, not just triangulation which less accuracy than gps.
    The update freq is even worse, about once a minute here.
    The tech is great, but I guess they limit its power due to privacy concerns, like someone attaching a cell phone into your car to track you down...

  51. cardgame
    May 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

    there is one MAJOR draw back to all of this... Privacy. What if I DON"T what to be found. What if I am interviewing at a competitor while my boss is looking for me, what if I am buy a present for my wife at a particular high end store. For that matter what if I am at the stripclub and don't want my girlfriend to find out, or a sporting event when I was suppose to be with a "sick friend". There are a multitude of reasons why any number of people DO NOT want to be found. And using tools like this can be an infringement.

    Beleive me, as soon as someone gets located doing something they were not suppose to and it resulted in trouble (divorce, being fired, etc) the lawsuits are going to fly.

    • budda
      May 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm

      If you've got a wife and a girlfriend, you've got trouble already, dude!

  52. the daily gadget
    May 3, 2009 at 7:43 am

    now this is really cool. only a matter of time before someone finds a way to track phones without permission though :/

    • CoB
      November 2, 2009 at 7:29 pm

      Tracking cell phones without permission is easy. You guys just haven't figured it out yet.

    • jamy
      November 20, 2009 at 11:07 am

      how do you do it?

    • sabi
      December 5, 2009 at 5:33 am

      how do u track cellphones without permission?

  53. Al
    May 3, 2009 at 6:46 am

    What's the resolution? Can I zoom in to see which room of a building a person is in or is the resolution at the "cell tower" range which could be from a few thousand feet to miles.

    They need to tie this into the phone camera for a live friend "street view" service!

  54. Ryan Dube
    May 3, 2009 at 4:47 am

    AJ, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. This article IS about triangulating a cell phone's actual position using Google Latitude....? You can see from the screen shot above where I show how to set up a friend and then there are even sample screenshots of Latitude triangulating his position as well as mine.

    If you're talking about a way to do that without someone's permission, that's a whole different ballgame. I doubt Google (or anyone) would ever enable that ability due to privacy issues. I would be interested in hearing what other people think about that concept though (if Google would remove that step and you could track anyone by cell number alone...) Just think of the ramifications of that...

    • Gints
      July 25, 2009 at 7:17 am

      i dint get !! how can i track my frend location ? where i shuld to put his phone number to get the location ?

    • My Location (requires a lot)
      January 17, 2010 at 6:54 am

      I beg to differ. A friend of mine was able to trace me on his Blackberry with just a phone number and I never accepted anything. I did not accept an invite like what is required on the My Location feature on the Latitude app. I recall vaguely Latitude's introduction and the 2009 update, but where is that app that just tells you where a friend is on the iPhone with just a phone number. He was able to locate me and I was like how did he do that?

  55. AJ
    May 3, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Your title is really misleading.

    You make it seem like you can triangulate a cell phone's actual position or something using Google Latitude.

    Instead it's just a basic user's guide for getting into Latitude.

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