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7 July 2020

Google Latitude for the iPhone launches

logo latitude Google Latitude for the iPhone launchesQuite a few people have been patiently waiting for Google Latitude to launch for the iPhone, and this past Thursday it finally did.  Oddly, Google decided to make the friend-finding app available in the Safari browser rather than as a stand-alone application.  Why?  In Google’s words:
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.
I’m not sure I understand this reasoning.  Before I read the announcement, but had heard Latitude for the iPhone would be a web app, I thought the choice was made based on a conflict of interest.  Skyhook Wireless is the location provider for iPhone apps and a direct competitor with Google’s Location Services.  In my opinion, Google is using Latitude for nothing more than fattening their own location database, so having a stand-alone app like Latitude might not impress the Skyhook crew.  I’m not really sure.
Even though it’s a web app, Latitude for the iPhone still doesn’t get around that background processing problem that’s plagued location-based iPhone apps since the beginning.  Because Latitude can’t run in the background, it can’t update your location continuously.  It’ll only update when the app is launched, which kind of makes it useless.  Maybe when the 3.1 OS update comes along in September things will change.
Latitude for the iPhone also works with the iPod Touch as long as you’re using 3.0 OS or above.  It’s also only available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand currently, but Google says more countries will be available soon.

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