Saturday, December 15, 2012

Enable "Google Latitude" in Korea

UPDATE 2013-06-22: The same features of Google Latitude are now available in the Google+ App, under the "Locations" sidebar. You'll need to enable location sharing to a specific Google+ circle, and your former Latitude friends will have to enable their location sharing to you, but it works much the same. 

UPDATE  2013-02-23: A nice replacement app for Latitude is Backitude, which gives greater control over location updates. This app will only report your location. For your own Location History, you'll need to install a modded version of the latest Maps version with "World Navigation" active. 

UPDATE  2013-02-19: Apparently as of Maps 6.14.2, Latitude is now removed even from the English interface. Buzz among Korean bloggers indicates that, at the moment, the method below must be done while assigned a US-based IP address (i.e. use a proxy or VPN).


You want to use Google Latitude to obsessively stalk your Korean boyfriend keep up with your friends, but the version of the Google Maps app (Android)  in Korea doesn't have the Latitude feature.

It actually does, but it's disabled in the Korean settings. Here is how to make it work:
  1. Switch the phone's overall system language from Korean to English.
  2. "Settings" -> "Applications" -> "Manage applications" -> Maps
  3. Hit the "Clear data" button
  4. Hit "Uninstall" (if it says it will revert to the factory version, that's fine)
  5. Go to Android Market aka Google Play Store. Reinstall Google Maps.
  6. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO AUTOMATICALLY UPDATE, or you'll have to do this all over again every single time. I suggest changing Play Store's preferences to forbid any/all apps from auto-updating.
  7. Open Maps, Launch Latitude, change settings to enable "Location Reporting" and to allow friends (you) to view that Location Data. "Location History" is unnecessary.
  8. TURN OFF THE PHONE. TURN ON THE PHONE AGAIN, WHILE STILL IN ENGLISH. If you do not do this, Maps will revert to non-Latitude status when you change the language back to Korean.
  9. Now launch Maps again. Verify Latitude is still working.
  10. Change phone's language back to Korean. Done.
Note that although Latitude will not appear in Maps anymore (because it's set back to Korean), the location will still be reporting and be visible to your Latitude friends or your Latitude dashboard. This can be verified by checking the phone's "Running Services."
Note also that this will only succeed in reporting the phone's location. It will not, so long as it is set to Korean, allow you to view your friends' locations.

Now when your boyfriend calls you at 3am, slurredly says he doesn't know where he is, then passes out drunk, you can go fetch him easily. Just be aware that Latitude updates rather infrequently, so the room-salon his location is reporting may only be where he was an hour ago. Thus, you are advised to check the local gutters in a half-mile radius, lest he end up on this site.


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  3. thanks so much, worked perfectly