Google Latitude Now On The iPhone

by Rob on July 23rd, 2009

For iPhone users jealous of Android users with access to Google Latitude, be jealous no more! You can now download Google Latitude for the iPhone by visiting http://google.com/latitude

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Well, you still have SOME reason to be jealous because while Android has a native application for latitude, iPhone users are forced to work with a web browser version of the service. You shouldn’t blame Google, you should blame Apple as the company explains in their blog post:

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, which uses Google to serve maps tiles.

Sounds pretty fishy to me. For those unfamiliar with Google Latitude it tracks your location and shares that location with your friends so they can see where you are and what you’re doing. Of course you can see where YOUR friends are as well:

Our Latitude web app provides all the core functionality you might expect: you can see the location of your friends on a map and modify your privacy settings so that you control how your location is shared and with whom. In fact, if my friends and colleagues back in London haven’t yet noticed my absence, they’ll see in Latitude that I’m currently vacationing on the beach in Australia. Hi guys, remember me!?

Google takes a slight pot-shot at Apple when explaining how often it updates your location:

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. Nevertheless, your location is updated every time you fire up the app and then continuously updated while the app is running in the foreground. And, of course, you can check in on where your friends are, so we think there’s plenty of fun to be had with Latitude.

More reason for iPhone fanboys to be jealous. But nevertheless, they’ve got access to Google Latitude which is a good enough start. Hopefully the next step will be incorporating it into maps or at least making it a native app.

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