Why Google Latitude is (only) a web app on the iPhone

by Volker Weber

Google’s Mat Balez writes:

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.

John Gruber translates:

Apple rejected their native iPhone app.

And that of course means iPhone users miss out on one important feature:

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.

My guess is that Apple does not really want people to get the Mobile Me function "Find my iPhone" for free.


Only other alternative I can think of: Apple plans on building in some similar functionality, or perhaps is even working with Google themselves to build it in the standard Maps app.

Kevan Emmott, 2009-07-25

Be cautious with translations by people who speak just one language.

David Richardson, 2009-07-25

Could Google actually build something like the "Find my iPhone"? I thought third party apps can't run in the background on the iPhone? Or has that finally been changed with the new OS version?

Ragnar Schierholz, 2009-07-26


did you check out the native iPhone App "HeyWAY" yet?
Uses OS 3.0 Push-Notification to inform authorised Users (User-Groups)
about my current location using Google Maps, so this is exactly the same thing which Google Latitude is doing right now, but using a native UI.

The only bad thing about this is:
OS 3.0 Push Notification uses a whole bunch of juice and sucks up the battery, but I guess this will be one of the things which get fixed in 3.1.

Works pretty good for me though ;-)

Eric Bredtmann, 2009-07-27

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