[Free][App][2.2+] Backitude: an essential Google Latitude addon for your Android device

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Apr 15, 2012 4:51:26 AM via Website

Greetings fellow developers and/or Android enthusiasts,

Check out the Full version, ad-free available for free in the Android Market/Google Play store by searching: Backitude for Google Latitude

Backitude provides a bundle of extended features and functionality for updating Google Latitude locations from your Android device. If you are a Google Latitude user or once had interest in the concept of Google Latitude, then Backitude is an essential addon. Background gps location updating at your own specified time interval is now within your realm. Backitude expands your updating options, accuracy, and even allows you and your friends to force updates on eachother when needed, all seamlessly behind the scenes.

I created this app about year ago to address two issues: I wanted to fix the short-comings of Google Latitude and make it a plausible application for users to enjoy and utilize effectively and efficiently. Also, I wanted to provide the Android Market (or Google Play Store now) with such a benefit free of charge. At the time, no such free application existed. Now there are plenty of options out there, with variety and different focal areas, and I couldn't be happier to see the world with accurate Google Latitude locations without an overbearing strain on batteries.

Google Latitude is somewhat inadequate on its own, but this is of no fault of the Google developers. They designed the application with battery efficiency as a number 1 priority. The conserve battery, Latitude on its own does not update locations in the background using GPS for accurate reporting. Instead it relies on Wi-Fi and cell tower triangulation to determine your location. Since many users refrain from enabling Wi-Fi when not stationary in their own network, or since Wi-Fi cannot be obtained while travelling, the resulting location updates are large, inaccurate "blue circles" on the map. Cycling through your Latitude friends, I mostly would see large, city-wide, inaccurate location readings- like I said, therefore truly defeating the purpose of Latitude. Latitude also fails to give the user any configurable options to location reporting. Backitude, to the rescue.

Backitude was designed to address all of this and put the power back into the hands of the user. You have complete control what, when, and how to update. Power can be a dangerous thing however. Google chose not to give the user a chance to configure their settings and risk draining batteries and having Android or Google products labelled as "battery drainers." Backitude is for the intelligent user, to know how to manage their battery, know their priorities, and know the effect of such functions. GPS polling is a very battery-intensive maneuver!

The final issue and gap Backitude inspired to bridge is updating a friend's location. It is great to have control over your location updates and allowing your friends to see exactly where you are, but what if they haven't updated recently or exactly when you needed to know their location? Backitude has an answer for that. "Fire an Update on a Friend" is the newest feature which utilizes SMS messaging to receive requests from other Backitude users. If your friend is also using Backitude and has this option enabled, you can send a request to their device which will in turn trigger an update at that very moment.

Additionally, there are many, many more features that all serve to give the user complete control of Latitude updates and battery consumption (in the context of Latitude updating). Thank you for checking it out!

— modified on Apr 15, 2012 5:03:24 AM

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Apr 17, 2012 3:44:51 PM via Website

Geting great reviews on Google Play. Nicely done! Congrats! :grin:
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Apr 17, 2012 8:27:11 PM via Website

Eric McBride
Geting great reviews on Google Play. Nicely done! Congrats! :grin:

Thanks! I had to win a couple over from lower ratings with some new features and bug fixes but anything for a better app.
  • Forum posts: 10

Apr 17, 2012 8:28:50 PM via Website

(Currently testing 2.7) Here is the change log, let me know if there's any more bugs I need to iron out last minute. That ks!

Backitude: Update release 2.7 Changelog

1. Reported Issue: Backitude just stops running after a couple hours of use. (Unconfirmed but occasionally reported bug) I haven't been able to duplicate, however this could be the result of Android's memory management as an operating system, or the result of a Task Manager, task killer type of process. Users who experience such an issue should add Backitude to the ignore list on their task managers. However, I have made some changes in the code that may help.

2. Enhancement: For IOException, SocketTimeoutException, Read timed out, Unresolved host name. Backitude now has a re-attempt feature that will retry update after 60 seconds from a failed update due to these network congestion exceptions. (As directed to do by Google)

3. Enhancement: Implemented notification for users who cannot update due to permissions problem. (403/503 exception) Instructing user to first login to Google Latitude from a PC browser to "opt user into Google Latitude" and/or reset their Latitude location manually again. Google sometimes implements new terms and conditions and it may be required to re-opt into their agreement.

4. Enhancement: Updated Java Client libraries and Google Latitude libraries. I am hoping this shows improvements with efficiency, speed, memory, and issues.

5. Issue: (GUI) Steals option is not disabling if the Time Interval is under 5minutes. Likewise, it should then enable if the Time Interval is switch to greater than 1minute, similar to the behavior of the Re-Sync Rate option.

6. Reported Issue: Wifi turns off after an update when Wifi Wake lock is enabled. Backitude now checks to see if Wi-Fi is connected (and therefore not sleeping) before acquiring a Wi-Fi wake lock.

7.  Change: "Fire Update" does not update location if minimum required distance is configured and new location is not outside of the bounds of previous location. Fire Update, since it is a manual update, has been changed to not consider the minimum distance configuration and bypass this validation.

8. Issue: Steals and manual updates (Fire Update) are not resetting the Time Interval clock after a successful update. This issue has been resolved.

9. Issue: Minimum distance calculation not taking into consideration changes in accuracy. If accuracy changes greatly from one location poll to the next, the location centers could be drastically far apart although the device has not moved. Offsetting the accuracy changes will result in better results for calculating change in distance.

10. Change: Push Update notification labels have been updated.
  • Forum posts: 10

Apr 26, 2012 4:13:52 AM via Website

Some users are experiencing random "bad location" updates that are caused when a gps fix cannot be obtained and the app resorts to cell tower triangulation provided by the operating system. These updates can be very inaccurate or even thousands of meters away from actual location and throw a user's history all out of line, literally.

I have come up with the following solution to battle this situation. I took the Location Provider - Set Priority options under Advanced Settings, and extended the options.

Now, a user can choose to completely disregard cell tower triangulation location values if this is an issue for them. Combined with minimum distance requirements and the Accuracy Filter, I am hoping this will satisfy everyone's needs across the board.

*These options are dependent on the providers being enabled on your device, (Location services, GPS, WiFi..etc)
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Apr 26, 2012 11:37:50 AM via Website

Thanks for the update!
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May 2, 2012 6:10:38 PM via Website

Seems development is coming along nicely for this.

Keep it up!
  • Forum posts: 10

May 14, 2012 3:12:12 AM via Website

Good news all,

I found an even more battery efficient way to write my code and structure my Backitude processing. That said, I couldn't sleep until I re-wrote the entire application to conform to this new design. And it works!!!

Major revision changes for 3.0 include:
- complete rewrite for battery efficiency
- resync and minimum distance options can now be enabled simultaneously (a user actually pointed out how this could be useful)
- real time updating mode can now also listen for "steals" simultaneously when real time updating interval is greater than 1 minute
- established a 3-attempt process for updating to Latitude when the request fails due to network congestion or weak/lost signal
- tablet compatibility is re-instituted
- logcat statements now available
- bug fixes

As stated, a lot of the code has changed and over half of it was re-organized. The introduction of new issues is a high probability, but I have also spent more time testing this version then any other. If you notice anything, do not hesitate to send them over. Thanks
  • Forum posts: 10

Jun 9, 2012 3:37:03 PM via Website


This is just an informal announcement that Backitude 3.3 has just been made "live" in Google Play. Be expecting an update soon from Backitude which will include the OFF-LINE LOCATION STORAGE & SYNC functionality many had previously showed interest in. It took a good deal of work but I am excited to get it out there and bring the application to a whole new level.

Other new features include the ability to configure the degree of accuracy required for GPS/Wi-Fi while polling for new locations. Specify a larger degree of accuracy and polling time will be reduced. Require a more accurate reading, and polling will continue longer until that value is acquired or the timeout passes.

Offline synchronization also includes some options as when to perform the sync. (Manual process only, once Wi-Fi is available, or once any network signal is available)

  • Forum posts: 10

Jun 13, 2012 8:55:50 PM via Website

There was an issue affecting the Sync, (some older operating systems were getting overrun with too many requests building up in the queue, of which Android only allows so many) although it only affected a small number of users- the bug has been resolved.

Version 3.6 is available and fully functional for all 2.2+ android devices. Cheers!
  • Forum posts: 10

Jul 12, 2012 4:55:12 AM via Website


Version 3.9 has now been released to the public and is available to download.

Changes include:
*A user had requested a means for which to share his location with someone when a data connection is not available to update Google Latitude. The solution for this case is to send an SMS with the coordinates of the last polled location. A new "Share Your Location" feature not only pre-populates a Google Maps link with the coordinates of your last location, it can also be used to pre-populate any other social serving media including Email, Facebook..etc

*A user requested control over Backitude's follow-up action if it failed to successfully poll an accurate location that did not exceed the minimum accuracy requirements as configured in the other settings. A fallback option set, now allows the user to specify what the application should do. The default value is the application's previous automatic behavior. If the application polls for a location, and it does not meet the value does not meet the minimum required accuracy, Backitude can:
1) use the most accurate value it acquired during the polling. If no new value was acquired whatsoever due to GPS blockage, it can repeat the previous location update.
2) use the most accurate value it acquired during the polling. If no new value was acquired whatsoever due to GPS blockage, it does not send an update to Latitude.
3) Automatically repeat the previous location value
4) Do not update at all if the accuracy requirements can not be achieved.

*A bug was introduced with Verizon build for ICS where the "Force Update on a Friend" SMS was not pre-populating with the keywords necessary. I found a method that successfully pre-populates the text message, however I just hope it does not break for any other OS builds.

*Any other bug fixes along the way.

Check it out, thanks

— modified on Jul 12, 2012 5:29:14 AM

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Sep 30, 2012 7:02:40 AM via Website

The newest version of Backitude has been released to Google Play Store. Update Now!!

The Good:

Version 4.0
-New mode, (aka profile aka configuration scheme) for when device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
-New option to send location updates to Google over Wi-Fi only (if desired)
-New option to configure the "steal buffer" or amount of time in between steals
-Configurable Push Update Widget - widget to one-click launch an SMS message for forcing an update on a friend. Configure the widget to assign a contact number directly linked to a specific widget, so the SMS message will be pre-addressed.
-Configurable Latitude launcher Widget - widget to launch Latitude friends list or optionally, link to a contact email to launch Maps application with Latitude layer enabled, preset to focus on assigned Latitude friend.
-Force Update secret suffix- attach a secret string requirement to the conclusion of your push update messages (incoming)
-bug fixes

The Bad:
As all users have experienced the last week, there has been an update quota shortage. Rather than increasing Backitude's quota, Google would like to see Backitude eliminate some repeated updates. Some of the above described new features will help combat this issue (wifi connected mode, configurable steals buffer..etc). Also, I decided to do away with some of the shorter period values for Re-Sync Rate.

Re-Sync Rate repeats the last polled location and re-sends it to Google. It is most beneficial for users as a "minimum change is distance" override. If you are filtering updates based on a "minimum change in distance" but would like to see updates at LEAST occur every x minutes- you can use Re-Sync.

Re-Sync was originally intended to prevent Latitude from over-writing the Backitude value with its own, inaccurate value. This can be completely avoided by changing the Google Maps applications "Location reporting" option to manual. In Latitude settings, location reporting, change the value to "set my location" and choose an arbitrary location. Once completed, Backitude can be used to complete all location updates.

Anyways, I hope this is well received. It may have some bugs, as a lot of new features went into this release.
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Sep 30, 2012 2:51:53 PM via Website

the battery efficiency renewal is so cool.
  • Forum posts: 1

Mar 27, 2013 3:20:36 AM via Website

Hello, I read your review on Google Backtitude, and it does answer all my addon needs for Latitude. I wish to know if both myself and my friends should have Backtitude installed on our phones to deliver the update features on one another location. Most of them don't have it installed, but I would if it allows me to know their location. Another question, how would I force and update location of my friend, without having Backtitude to send them a message? ..Is it possible to use force update location without sending a notification message??

Would Backtitude works even when my friends have their WIFI disabled on their phones?

Thank you very much.