Google on Thursday released a version of its Latitude mobile application for the iPhone. But Apple, curiously, has decreed that it be a Web-based app and not a native iPhone app, which has raised some eyebrows.
In announcing Latitude for iPhone, a Google blog post noted that the application works much the same way as on other platforms like Android, Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. It allows you to show your location on a map so that friends may find you.
The big exception for the iPhone version is that you have to use the service in the Safari Web browser. As for why, Google put it this way: “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.”
“The way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users” isn’t a new concept: The company has tightly controlled what kind of applications are allowed access to the App Store–albeit sometimes without clear policy. But Apple telling Google what to do? Now that’s interesting. The companies have a history together, such as when Google was allowed access to unpublished iPhone APIs for its Mobile app. And of course, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board of directors.