Google launched its official Google Latitude application for Apple's iPhone. The app leverages the multitasking capabilities of iOS 4 to deliver persistent location.
Google Dec. 13 launched its official Google Latitude application for Apple's
iPhone, more than a year and a half after Apple refused to allow the app as a
native offering in its App Store.
is the company's friend-finding application, showing smartphone users where
there friends are on Google Maps. The idea is to help friends keep track of
each other while on the go.
Latitude tracks friends' locations using cell phone tower triangulation and
the GPS capabilities in phones. Accordingly,
the service is completely opt-in. Users must install it and add friends who
want to share data about their whereabouts.
The app had promise when it launched almost two years ago, but check-in
services such as Foursquare and location-based services from Twitter and
Facebook have relegated Latitude to the back burner for many users. Still,
Google claimed today that more than 9 million people still actively use
Now Latitude has gone native on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 running Apple's
iOS 4 operating system, according to Google Latitude engineer Chris Lambert
The Latitude app leverages iOS 4's multitasking capability to support
background updating. Importantly, users who wish to go dark on Latitude can
simply turn off background updating and share only city-level location or sign
out of Latitude.
Google launched a Latitude Web application for the iPhone in July 2009,
noting that it had to resort to that step after Apple rejected the original
iPhone app from its App Store.
Google Mobile Team product manager Mat Belez
said in a blog post
: "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
The big difference between the Web app and the new native App is that the
native App will persistently update friends' location data in the background
once they've closed the app. This obviously wouldn't work for the Web app; once
a user closes the Apple Safari mobile browser the app ceased to work.
For most consumers, the Web app is fine. Yet having a native app is a big deal for geeks
, who despise the corporate brinksmanship
between Apple and Google as much as they appreciate persistent location.
Google and Apple engaged in a much more high-profile battle over the Web-versus-native
mobile app with Google Voice after Apple rejected it
from its App Store for competing with its iPhone
an HTML5-based Web app for Google Voice on the iPhone
in January, but launched
its native app in November.
This all became possible when Apple loosened the reins it held
over its iPhone developer terms to allow third-party applications to leverage
iOS 4's capabilities.