my question is it possible to configure Google Latitude on a Android OS phone to update its location more often then every hour? for example, every 30 minutes? or every 15 minutes? I check where my wife is located while I'm at work by opening the latitude website, but it updates her location only every 1 hour. I would be very happy to make it update more often. Thank you for your time.
If you didn't try this already Latitude has a "Real-time updating" feature since Maps 4.6.
To enable this: click on the person you want real-time updates from, on their Latitude profile you should see an option to get "Real-time updating". Click that and you'll get another dialog asking how long you want the real-time update (15, 30, or 60 min). When you go back to the map that that person will be orange instead of blue now.
Latitude is working fine but I have often observed update delays like you mentioned. There is no way to change the update behavior of the software. On the other hand, Latitude has the advantage of having a low impact on battery life when it is activated.
Another solution that lets share location information is Glympse. This software lets you share your location with anyone and the updates are mostly in real-time. For this to work you need to send a glympse to someone and you chose a delay during which the location is shared. The main drawback is the high power usage.
There are a few reasons that immediately pop into my head.
Available power plays an important role in whether or not Latitude updates your position. When the battery is fully charged, you will find an insane amount of updates. When the battery power starts to go down, updates become more infrequent. Driving around with the phone plugged in to the cigarette lighter keeps giving me updates around every minute (with Maps in foreground).
The Google Maps app is not in the foreground. If the app is the primary thing running, the updates are frequent.
Settings. See the other response about making sure your settings are correct when it come to updating location.
NOTE: After a lot of searching, I found a paper describing that Google Maps improves itself by having people walking/driving around with Google Maps in the foreground (as well as GPS and WiFi turned on). It takes measurements of signal strength from cell towers and private WiFi networks to determine location.
Latify allows you to specify a location polling update interval towards Google Latitude. It will sync to Google Latitude using that interval. You can choose to do GPS or WIFI updates. Also runs in the background so you don't need to know it's running. Can also store your location changes on your phone (when no data connection is available), and syncup with Google Latitude when a connection becomes available.
If those don't work for you, there's also Backitude