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Google Latitude Comes to the iPhone
Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 3:57 PM - by Jeff Gamet
Google's Latitude online social networking service is available for Apple's iPhone, but unlike other apps it's available only as a Web-based version. The choice to go with a Web-based app, according to Google Mobile Product Manager Mat Balez, was at Apple's request.
"We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users," Mr. Balez said. "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."
Latitude is a social networking service that takes advantage of iPhone and iPod touch location services to show where friends are, chat with other users, see traffic conditions, find businesses, and more.
Since Latitude runs in Mobile Safari instead of as a native application, it is limited compared to other platforms.
"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," Mr. Balez said. "Nevertheless, your location is updated every time you fire up the app and then continuously updated while the app is running in the foreground."
Despite the limitations, Latitude for the iPhone and iPod touch lets users connect, find and chat with their friends that are using the service on other devices. Latitude is free and available at the Google Web site.
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