megasoft: Google Latitude application for the iPhone

Friday, July 24, 2009

Google Latitude application for the iPhone

Google announced a web app version of Latitude for the iPhone, enabling users to both share their location with friends and view a live map showing their friends' location.

The biggest limitation facing the new app, however, is Apple's prohibition against installing third party background apps. This prevents Google from constantly updating the user's location automatically unless the Latitude app is running in the foreground.

On other mobile platforms, including Google's Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Window Mobile, Google runs a Latitude service in the background. Google does not currently offer a native Palm Pre/WebOS version, and Pre users report that the web version targeted toward the iPhone does not currently work correctly on that device.

There already have been demonstration mashup web apps that log into MobileMe and regularly request the given user's location. Were Apple to enable it, this facility could be used to allow users to regularly report their iPhone's location to services such as Latitude or Loopt. However, liberally sharing GPS location tracking is a sensitive area already limited by legislation, so any such system would require full disclosure and adequate security to prevent spyware or other legal liabilities from popping up.

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