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Google Latitude Arrives For the iPhone — As a Web App 195

An anonymous reader writes "After months of waiting, the Google Latitude social maps service finally arrived for the iPhone ... but thanks to an Apple rejection of the natively developed app, it's a web app. Says Google on their blog, 'We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone.' But it gets worse for iPhone users: '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 Windows Mobile.' Latitude has been sprouting new features lately and is an interesting take on social networking, but it looks like Apple is determined to ensure its users only get a seriously crippled implementation compared to the Android and WinMo versions. PC World put it less politely than Google did, saying, 'Google's new Latitude Web app for iPhone is so hamstrung that Apple customers may be wishing they had a BlackBerry or Android handset instead.'"
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Google Latitude Arrives For the iPhone — As a Web App

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  • Why wait for Apple? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:27PM (#28827707) Homepage

    Google should just put the app on their website along with instructions on how to jailbreak your iPhone and install it.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:31PM (#28827723)

    Anyone who thinks Apple is going to sit on their laurels while Android eats its lunch simply doesn't know Steve Jobs. First, compare the quality of user experience between the iPhone and all of its rivals. The iPhone is so far ahead of anything currently on the market that Apple has the luxury of rejecting apps that would otherwise be useful for their customers.

    But despite this insurmountable lead in the UI, Apple is still developing their next version of the iPhone. There can be no doubt that they are going to take the best ideas of the current iPhone, the current competition, and the huge set of iPhone apps. So we can look forward to applications which run in the background like Latitude. We can expect to find better copy/paste support. All signs point to an even better keyboard experience. And more than anything, the connectivity between iPhones will be much better.

    The competition will, as always, be one step behind. Following the leader is a losing game. Google is doing a great job in trying to change the rules with Android, but unlike Apple, OEMs using Android simply don't understand the user as well as Apple does.

  • by bangpound ( 1106805 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:48PM (#28827867)
    Google Latitude is an immature service. It's not as interesting or useful as Brightkite or even Loopt. However, the web app is brilliant. The responsiveness of the app is not very different from the iPhone Maps app. The directions tool is in some ways better. The fact that it's not a "real" app isn't important to me. In fact, it shows that most of the apps out there are unnecessary... they could be web apps instead.
  • Apple will be sued for their app store discrimination.

    This should be the point at which everyone realizes that If a google app gets rejected, there's no point investing time and money into an iphone app.

    Business isn't going to make a product which can't be sold.

    Just like mainstream movie production companies won't make a film that can't be shown in theaters. It's about money and Apple is trying to play favorites.

  • No iphone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by secureboot ( 920488 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:27PM (#28828493)
    This is the first thing that's really made me want to get a non-iPhone. Latitude really introduces a lot of option for apps, and not being able to do this in the background really hamstrings the device. Hope Apple fixes this soon...
  • by Michael G. Kaplan ( 1517611 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @02:28PM (#28828501)

    AT&T wants to sell their 'AT&T FamilyMap' plan to its users. Subscribers are charged $9.99 for the ability to locate up to 2 other people with AT&T phones $14.99 to locate up to 5 people. Google latitude will do this for free only better because users can locate as many people as they want and it can locate non-AT&T users.

    I think that Apple would be happy to allow this but the problem is that wireless providers abuse their oligopoly status to cripple cell phone features so that users are forced to give the wireless carriers money for things that they otherwise would have been free and better.

    For example Verizon forces smart phone manufacturers to rip out WiFi so users are forced to pay Verizon to access the internet. MP3 players are ripped out of cellphones and replaced by silly paid services such as VCast.

    Banning Latitude is almost certainly just another mundane example of carrier oligopoly abuse. The federal government needs to legislate to stop cell phone carriers from crippling phones.

  • by agrif ( 960591 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @09:25PM (#28831967) Homepage

    or, Google could release the source code to the app. This would give a great example for other developers to create other apps for Latitude: open social networks always work well (see Twitter). It would also prevent any legal issues with Apple, as there are many open-source apps out there right now, and Google has a good history with open source. If someone wants it, they can compile it themselves or (more likely) get it from someone else who has already compiled it.

    As an added bonus, a non-jailed application can do background updates.

  • by floodo1 ( 246910 ) <floodo1@garf[ ].org ['ias' in gap]> on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:09AM (#28832961) Journal
    Some call it catchup and others don't care. That is that most iPhone users are willing to accept some measure of freedom loss in order to gain a consistently high level of user experience. It gets so old to hear people whine about what Apple won't give them. It's obvious by now that what they give you is sufficient for a really significant number of people. We get it, it's not for you. I could sit here and complain about how GM doesn't make any cars I want, but if GM has happy customers and is doing well then I'm just being a troll.

    More importantly stop and consider the large number of apple purchasers who are relatively ignorant about technology and rely on Apple to control things for them. These people need someone to limit them and Apple is VERY VERY concerned with not providing them enough rope to hang themselves with. The reason is that these people hold Apple liable for even the most minor of problems. Not only do they exercise this through future purchases but also through Apple support. Just go into an Apple store and look at the sorts of support issues that a large percentage of people are in there...essentially they're there for things that you and I (and all of slashdot) already know about. The last thing that Apple needs is for even more people to show up going "I tried to find XXX on google maps and all I found was some YYYY (strange content)" because they think the new google app is something that it's not.

    Simply put do not underestimate the ignorance of a lot of Apple's customers, and the level of support (time, money) that Apple puts into supporting these people. THAT is the reason they can charge so much and why they're bastards about user experience. Yes it's slightly nefarious, but more importantly it's good business as it makes them profitable and it makes most of their customers really happy, happy enough to keep buying lots of stuff. Fortunately they manage to provide for all of those people and to a lesser extent for the rest of us, enough to satisfy a significant number of non-ignorant people.

    Personally I'd prefer if they catered more towards people like myself, but oh well.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982