Google Latitude for iPhone finally approved by Apple App Store

location sharing app

The Google Latitude location sharing app, re-engineered for iOS 4, has been approved by the Apple App Store. Image: CC gailjadehamilton/Flickr

Google Latitude, a mobile location-sharing app, has been approved by Apple for the iPhone. Google has been promising a version of Latitude for iPhone since it became available for Android nearly two years ago. Google claimed there were 9 million users of the app when it announced Google Latitude for iPhone, a number that is being disputed.

Google’s Latitude location-sharing app

Google Latitude lets your friends and family track your every move when you’re carrying your smartphone. The free app lets users share their location at any particular moment on Google Maps. Fellow Google Latitude users can know who’s close enough to meet quickly without calling them to ask. Google says Google Latitude is 100 percent opt-in. Users can turn off Latitude’s background updating to conceal their location when they’re not using their smartphones. Privacy settings allow sharing at a city-only level if the exact address is a little too intimate. Signing out puts you under the radar.

Apple changes attitude on Latitude

Google Latitude has been available for Android since February 2009. At the time, the Apple iOS didn’t support the multitasking required to support background updating. The Apple App Store rejected an earlier Google Latitude app with the reasoning that it could substitute for the iPhone’s native Maps application. The just-approved Google Latitude for iPhone was re-engineered for iOS 4, which includes multitasking. To use the app requires iOS 4 or newer on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4.

Has Google Latitude upstaged Foursquare?

When Google announced Google Latitude for the iPhone it claimed that 9 million people were active users of the app. That’s about twice as many users as the popular location-sharing app Foursquare. TechCrunch speculates that Google can claim 9 million active users because Latitude is built into the Maps app running on every Android phone. The Latitude users Google boasts may not be aware that they are using Latitude. It could be running in the background without the users knowing it’s giving away their every move.


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