I still can’t believe it happened. After months of going back and forth, Google has finally brought Google Latitude to iPhone. Google Latitude did start a passionate discussion among folks who were absolutely in love with the concept and those who wanted to keep their privacy intact. Like most location based services, Google Latitude for iPhone lets you add your friends, find out where they are on a map, and even schedule lunches or meetings with them. And you do get control over who sees what. So technically, you are not going to lose your privacy unless you want to.
Google and Apple were in discussions to release this app on iPhone for months. Google intended to release a native app for iPhone, but it seems Apple didn’t feel too comfortable with that approach:
Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles.
The good news is that we are finally going to get this amazing piece of software on our iPhones. The bad news is Apple has again refused to listen to what its customers want. Not only Apple has delayed this project by months with all its requests, it has essentially restricted Google Latitude from performing to its potential on iPhone. You see, web apps can’t run in the background. So we are essentially getting Latitude Lite on our phones. Here is what Google had to say about this whole issue:
Unfortunately, since there is no mechanism for applications to run in the background on iPhone (which applies to browser-based web apps as well), we’re not able to provide continuous background location updates in the same way that we can for Latitude users on Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Window Mobile.30+ must see flexible iPhone mounts & stands
Am I excited that we are finally getting Google Latitude on iPhone? You bet. But it’s very disappointing that Apple gets even more controlling by the day. I would like to give Apple the benefit of the doubt here but “customer confusion” excuse is a lame one. The app is still very functional. But after months of waiting for this app, it’s a kick in the teeth to realize we are not getting anything more than Google Latitude Lite.
Your take: was Apple right to make Google develop a web version of Google Latitude instead of a native one?
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