Google has launched a new mobile service called Latitude that lets users see the location of friends who opt to share their whereabouts.

It adds to the existing location-awareness function on Google Maps but is also an iGoogle gadget for a computer.

The service allows users to see friends’ locations on a map and gives the option to make contact directly via SMS, Google Talk, Gmail, or by updating a status message.

Google stresses it recognizes the sensitivity of location data, so it’s built privacy controls into the application.

Users control exactly who gets to see their location, but can also decide the location that they see.

The service uses cell-phone tower triangulation, GPS or Wi-Fi to find their location.

As of launch, Latitude is available in 27 countries but Google expects to add to the list shortly.

It runs on Blackberry, S60 and Windows Mobile, and will be available on Android in the next few days. It is expected to become available for the iPhone, through Google Mobile App, very soon.

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