Today Google announced the latest version of Google Maps for mobile devices, version 3.0. The most compelling feature about the update is called Latitude, and it lets you pinpoint your friends on Google Maps, all from your cell phone. It works with most BlackBerry phones, the iPhone, Java-enabled phones, Symbian S60 devices, and Windows Mobile 5.0+ smartphones. You can also keep tabs on your buddies by logging in to iGoogle. To get started, we simply had to install the new version of Google Maps. Then we clicked the Menu button and selected Latitude. From this menu, you’ll be able to view your friends and add new ones. It will automatically pull contacts down from your GMail account and you can check off any friends you’d like to see on a map. A privacy tab lets you share your location manually, share it constantly, or hide it altogether. Any friends you had have to approve and set their own privacy settings. When your friends approve, you’ll see them in Google Maps, each represented by a small square with their preset buddy icon. If you hover over their square, you can also view their status update. We really wish this was tightly integrated with Google Talk, a simple “Message John” button, for example, would be very useful. Google could even add in a green, red, or grey icon representing if the user was online. We hope this is added in a future update. We tested the service on a BlackBerry 8900 from T-Mobile, and the performance was excellent. Within a minute of adding a friend, we saw them on the map. This time will vary, of course, depending how quickly they approve your request. The location of a family member across town was dead-on, and we could see another friend at JFK before taking off. However, a co-worker in our office was placed a block away, so it’s not 100 percent perfect. We love Latitude. It reminds us a lot of Loopt, but GMail already has millions of users, so it’s more likely your friends will use Latitude instead. Check it out for yourself by visiting Google.com/gmm on your mobile browser or www.google.com/latitude.