Google Latitude. Now for iPhone.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 | 3:00 PM

I'm a big fan of the iPhone. I'm also a big fan of the web. So, naturally, I'm excited that today we're finally releasing Google Latitude for iPhone and iPod touch as a web application running in Safari.


Our Latitude web app provides all the core functionality you might expect: you can see the location of your friends on a map and modify your privacy settings so that you control how your location is shared and with whom. In fact, if my friends and colleagues back in London haven't yet noticed my absence, they'll see in Latitude that I'm currently vacationing on the beach in Australia. Hi guys, remember me!?

You'll also find basic Search and Directions functionality to help you get around the world. And just like our Google Maps for mobile client apps (and more recently on desktop Google Maps), you can press the "blue dot" to be taken to your approximate current location on the map with My Location, thanks to Safari now supporting the W3C Geolocation API.

To try Google Latitude, type google.com/latitude into your iPhone's browser. And if you miss the experience of launching the app directly from your home screen, you can add a bookmark to the home screen by opening Latitude in Safari and tapping the + icon > Add to Home Screen > Add.



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.

Google, like Apple, continues to push for improvements in web browser functionality. Now that iPhone 3.0 allows Safari to access location, building the Latitude web app was a natural next step. In the future, we will continue to work closely with Apple to deliver useful applications -- some of which will be native apps on the iPhone, such as Earth and YouTube, and some of which will be web apps, like Gmail and Latitude.

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. Nevertheless, your location is updated every time you fire up the app and then continuously updated while the app is running in the foreground. And, of course, you can check in on where your friends are, so we think there's plenty of fun to be had with Latitude. Learn more about updating and sharing your location from your iPhone.

The Google Latitude web app currently supports iPhone/iPod Touch OS 3.0 or above. For now, it's available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and we hope to bring it to more countries soon.


by Mat Balez, Product Manager, Google Mobile Team

106 comments:

Tenkely said...

So no stand alone app or integration with already in place Google maps ever? People have to use 2 mapping applications one with Latitude and one with out? Did I read this wrong?

David said...

Seems like it pulls my location from the wifi instead of the gps - Why?

Thu said...

I tried the URL on the Palm Pre and got redirected to a link that went to the installed Google Map app. Has this been tested on the Pre already and deemed not to work, or is this just a preemptive denial? The Pre browser is based on webkit, too. I don't know if it supports the Geolocation API, but when I was playing with the SDK, I saw GPS as one of the available services.

Thanks.

Jer said...

@thu

It ALMOST works in WebKit on Android (with user-agent trickery) but some stuff doesn't. Also, location is set via Gears. Does Pre have Gears?

I think the main thing is the Gears requirement, but I too was surprised to see that it didn't work on Android.

Jer said...

I have to say that Apple's reluctance to let Google incorporate Latitude into the Google Maps app that they already maintain is puzzling.

I suspect this is because Maps is a 'core' app, and thus can only be updated via a firmware update. Kind of a hassle to fix problems in reasonable amounts of time should they arise.

Dylan said...

Dang, we need this for the Prē super bad. Help us, Google!

Jack said...

Oh good grief. Give me a native app over a web app PLEASE! Or build in Latitude functionality into the official Maps app.

The Seelig said...

Without continuous background location updates, this is essentially worthless. No one has time to continually open the web app to update their location.

Disappointing waste of such a neat project. :-(

Jack said...

And on top of that, since it ISN'T a native app... I can't even Jailbreak my iPhone to enable "backgrounder" which COULD keep it running in the background.

I love the concept, but without some sort of native app, there's really no point.

Stevie said...

IMHO, Apple is already planning to release some kind of proximity awareness feature so that iPhone will behave differently based on your location (e.g. At Work location, iPhone will be auto set on Vibrate). That's why Apple recommended Google to release latitude as a browser app instead of a native iPhone app.

The Seelig said...

Yeah, the "live view" aspect is the whole appeal. When I'm traveling, I want my friends and family to see where I'm at in live display.. not when ever I find time to open the web app. :( I've been waiting for this for so long too!

Martin said...

My only hope is that Apple will eventually integrate this into the native Maps app. I mean they already have a live push of one's location via MobileMe, there is no reason why it couldn't work with Latitude.

Other then Apple's desire to make people pay $99 per year for MobileMe, that is. Nothing wrong with Apple wanting to put profit above all, it's just disappointing.

A computer study said...

Why not integrate this into gmail web app? When I open gmail in safari on iphone it updates my location, as well offers an option (a map overlay) in gmail to check to see where my friends are?

I already check my gmail, but loading a separate web app to update my status and c where friends are is a bit silly in a UX perspective!

Trevor said...

Thanks but no thanks, too painful to set up and not enough functionality.

Jer said...

I suspect two things:

1) Apple doesn't want to update the 'core' Maps.app, possibly due to size constraints

2) they want to push MobileMe's location services.

Both are sucky reasons.

TechWriter said...

A very disappointing implementation from Google. :-(

For months now I've looked forward to Google releasing Latitude coming to the iPhone, but now that it is here I can't see myself using it often.

The deal-breaker for me is the lack of continuous background updates. I'm also not happy that it isn't integrated into Maps.

Jer said...

@TechWriter

"A very disappointing implementation from Google. :-("

I hope that if you do any tech writing about this, that you make it more clear that the disappointment lies squarely in Apple's camp rather than Google's. They tried, but at the end of the day, Apple has to say OK, and they wouldn't do it.

Lame.

wasabi said...

WTF Apple?!?! So allow latitude integration with with maps...

Scott said...

I agree, lack of continuous updating is a deal breaker. I will not keep opening an app and neither will family and friends just to update location. This should be done in the backgroud. Apple, you loose to other smart phones on this one.

Seth said...

Thanks google, no thanks to apple. This is really aweful. I really hate Apple's business practice of limiting functionality.

I have been waiting for quite some time to use Latitude with my phone, too bad it won't be with this implementation.

Google: how about an API for updating my location in Latitude. That would make it useful.

Andrew said...

I love how most of the commenters think this is Google's failure. I love my iPhone, but does anyone realize the way Apple works? Or the way the iPhone OS works?

No background apps, no apps that "compete" with the core apps. This was all political, and all Apple's call.

K'C said...

One word only, "Disappointing".

Seb said...

Brilliant work Google! Absolute stupidity from Apple. Haven't Apple learned anything from the whole Apps debacle and giving users what they actually want!

I agree, this is almost useless and I was sooo looking forward to it. No matter what anyone says - web apps are painful compared to a native app due to latency pulling stuff of the net.

After having a play Android I think it's a mistake to ignore users with such policies

If apple won't play ball and since you mention Google already developed the app, can't a native app be made available as an apps download?

Tay W. said...

yea we need dis for da pre eh? i'm not canadian but i bet they'll want it too!

Aaron Barker said...

Yeah, what everybody else says. Sad to see such a pathetic implementation of this. I had been looking forward to this and now that I have to get Safari open each time, it's sad. At least have it update on any Google property (reader, gmail, docs, etc). Would be at least a step towards easier updates.

Will it keep updating if I leave safari open but the screen goes black? If not, back to Loopt I go I guess.

miguel said...

Apple marketing is pretty evil. They hold out a feature for a year or more so that they can make a big splash when they release the new version and generate all the buzz because of the pent up demand. It's like taking off shoes that are too tight, it feels so good that you almost forget all the pain you suffered through.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, expect backgroundable apps in OS 4 next year, and I'm sure everyone here will be lined up at the Apple store ready to buy.

Leo said...

I'm also a little bit disappointed. I was really excited by this feature as I'm afraid of earthquakes leaving me trapped. This app could literally save my life if it ran on the background. Nevertheless, I understand :( Thanks Google, Apple please let them do a real app.

John Gordon said...

I hope we get some leaks about WTF happened with this app rejection.

I'm also very concerned about the fate of Google voice for the iPhone.

I'll be turning down my iPhone enthusiasm until we get some straight answers from Apple.

Extremely disappointing.

Data said...

If "mobile me" can run in the background on iphone, why cant Latitude?

Dodger Palmer said...

I've read all of the above posts and agree that Google put forth a great piece of technology, and echo the disappointment of the limitations imposed by Apple. Is it just me or is Apple acting like the evil Microsoft by all of this tight control and rigidity?

iGopes said...

"WTF Apple?!?! So allow latitude integration with with maps..."

"I'm also not happy that it isn't integrated into Maps."

I think some people are forgetting that although Maps uses Google's content, the app is written by Apple. The Maps program is not in any way Google Maps-as-a-native-app. If Google had done the app themselves, there'd be more features (like the ability to choose from more than one route).

Emma said...

Oh, ick. Sounds like yet another way the government can get into my phone records and figure out where I've been. Hell to the no.

Data said...

Why not integrate Latitude with "mobile me" which can run in the background to find even a locked iphone?

Justin said...

Completly useless! I've been waiting and waiting for this. My friends with their Nokia's do this great, my brothers Android does this great, even peole I know using Windows Mobile (yuk!) are doing this fine. This really is the last straw! Apple iPhone is an over hyped pile of rubbish!! I regret buying the 3G, and with only a few months to go on plan I can't wait to get rid of it. Complete junk, and anyone who tries to convince themselves otherwise then explain your way out of the latitude disaster. Very very disappointed Apple / Google. A Complete failure all round here!

Joshua said...

LAME. sorry, but the whole maps application needs a plugin API (wikiplaces overlay, latitude overlay, etc...) I am quite disappointed by this and will be looking to other applications (such as loopt) instead of google latitude.

Why not release a full app as a JB-only app? (like backgrounder, which comes out of google labs, from all appearances)?

oh, and by the way, it's MY PHONE, not apple's - I would like the ability to choose how I use it. if you take that away, i WILL hack it.

Alan said...

You should release it on Cydia. Or "leak" the app, so someone can "leak" it to the rest of us, it wouldn't void any contracts you may have with Apple, because it was an "accident" when it was leaked.

Think about it...

redwolfb14 said...

I was waiting for this. Now I see it's a total wait in vain. I can only wonder as to the motives of Apple but I suspect they are busy working on their own application with similar if not identical functionality. Instead of releasing latitude for iphone as this hobbled mess I would of rathered no release at all with a full on explanation detailing the situation as it was understood by the parties on the Latitude group.

What I don't understand is how it's any different than the other GPS applications for the iphone such as Motion-X?

RichB said...

I imagine the objection was that it competed with MobileMe's FindMyIphone.

cwarner said...

@RichB but the two are focusing on two different contextual behaviors. One to find and one to broadcast. It's really just silly if that's the case.. Unfortunately android isn't as usable for me yet in the meantime i'm going to try and get by with Motion-X

Gabriel Scapin said...

Without continuous background location updates, this is essentially worthless. No one has time to continually open the web app to update their location.

Disappointing waste of such a neat project. [2]

BilloBallo said...

I don't get how this is Apple's fault. It seems like since the iPhone has become so successful, a lot of people like to blame Apple first.

victor said...

So, why doesn't google open source the native latitude app? That way, some people will be able to build it and install it on their devices (provided they paid the $99 iPhone developer program fee to Apple first)

Andy said...

The way I read this explanation is that Apple is building this or similar functionality into the iPhone Maps app (note: Apple develops and maintains this, NOT Google).

Latitude would have essentially provided the same service as a built in Apple app, so Apple have rejected the app (there is a track record of this, Apple want's to prevent user confusion).

Not having background updates is a feature as far as I'm concerned - far too many people would forget that they were sharing their location when they really didn't want to be. Having it foreground only means that you're only sharing your location when you're also interested in other people's locations - which is the most likely situation.

Fritz said...

Hm, thats nice. To tell my friends in witch bar / restaurant me and my friends are I use friendticker.com. It's mobile and works on every phone, because webbased. So my "non iPhone Friends" - guess I got some - can use it too.

100thIdiot said...

How disappointing. I've been waiting excitedly for quite some time for the iphone Latitude app. This webapp roll out of it is very disappointing.

The Google team that worked on it must be as gutted as I am. How do I make my complaint to Apple, this is obviously nothing to do with the user experience, Apple obviously has a hidden agenda here. Thanks alot Apple, this is the first thing you've done on iphone thats really annoyed me.

Carlos Martins said...

Apple's excuse is completely "lame".
So, they say iPhone users are smart, but now they're too dumb too know how to handle an extra option in the Maps app?

Though I understand their reasoning, it doesn't make it right.

Latitude should be integrated in the Maps app, and allow for configurable periodic updates, based on time or distance.

If it were configured to update once every hour or so, it should have any significant impact on battery life.

And it could show an extra symbol (like alarm) on the top status bar, showing it was actively tracking its position - if enabled.

westex said...

Отлично. Жаль, что не будет работать в фоновом режиме. А ведь это самая фишка. Ждем новостей.

Jay said...

Maybe you could have the option for an auto-update every time I opened the iPhone Google Apps App. or something.

OR

Maybe a simple iPhone app that just updated the location every time you clicked its icon and then goes away?

James said...

You can tell Apple how you feel on their iPhone feedback page.

Polemicistic said...

This service has potential. But compared to Maps and Google Earth this service is lacking.

After a few tests Latitude obviously is not GPS updated. According to the service my current location is around 1.2 km's away from where I actually was standing in my back yard. But when I turn on Google Earth or Maps I get the location so precise that it scares me. :) When I turn on Navigon and check the GPS the signal is strong and my location is exact. Why does that location not translate to the Latitude service?

Why this service is not integrated into Maps or even a simple standalone app I really don't know. I can only blame Apple. Google have obviously made a standalone application

"After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application..."

All that work by Google only to have Apple cut it's legs off. I hope some Google dude leaks the application to the iPhone hacking community. *evil grin*

Maybe using the Manually set location setting and having a separate program pump the information in from your iPhone might be the way to go? I'm sure some scripting guru's will figure out how to have updated data sent to the Google Latitude server. If Fire Eagle can do it then why not Latitude?

Apple is being quite restrictive and it really doesn't surprise me. Google gives it's apps away for free so Apple doesn't make any money. Maybe Google should sell it just to shut Apple up ... :) Just a thought...

III said...

Latitude is useless without background updates of location. Thanks for promising something that you guys (Apple and Google) could not or decided not to deliver. Now I am stuck without functionality on my smart phone - iPhone. Thanks Steve and Larry!!!

Al said...

You really can't complain about it not running in the background without realizing that it would kill your battery in a matter of a few hours if not less.

Although it would have been nice to see this integrated into the default maps application. It's important to note that web apps written properly can deliver a very good user experience.

Since I don't plan on running this app all the time, it doesn't really bother me to just launch the app when I am trying to give a friend of mine my location to meeting for lunch.

Bill said...

please make it a full app - the web app seems to have fresher data, and some nicer features than the Maps app built in.

Mathieu said...

I hope this is just a start before integrate Latitude in Maps and finding a way to update in background.
This is to bad that one of the most advanced/popular mobile OS doesn't have Latitude because almost anyone have at least a friend with an iPhone and they can't fully use Latitude.

BlueSun said...

Wow. I was truly excited for this thinking it was an enhancement to maps. Having used this considerably on my previous blackberry, it seemed like a useful enhancement to the iPhone. But as a web based app requiring me to open safari to use it seems like a complete joke of an application. Obviously apple has it's own interest in mind here and not that of the user when it made this decision.

Audrey said...

Am I the only one that cannot add friends?

Josh said...

So is Apple trying to push users to Android or what? As much as I like my iPhone, stuff like this makes me question if other, more open platforms will be more functional in the long run.

Kalyan said...

What!! Did APPLE say people are dumb an get confused with native maps?? Pratically Safari sucks with latitude as web app. Come on Apple.

Bryan said...

Not going to use this because it's pointless. Native apps and background apps, this is not a complicated concept....is it?

Pierre said...

No app ... I'm so disapointed ! :(

Sebastián said...

This is really dumb and its insulting that both Google and Apple think that latitude within the Maps app would be confusing. Release the app and give users the right to choose!

Paul said...

Booooo!

Nice idea, but useless on the iphone unless it runs in the background, or as a native app.

Apple needs to loosen up a little.

james.eilers said...

When getting directions to a person, why not send it to the Maps App? Or at least have the option to.

LiveCrunch said...

That's cool! Loving it.

Btw for fans of iPod Touch found one cool blog with tricks thought I might share.

http://ipodtouchtricks.blogspot.com

Schibou said...

Extremely disappointing. No integration with map, no live update and it just keep refreshing the page on Safari with the allow location prompt ... on my iPhone 3gs with 3g and no wifi.

Stefan said...

Hey guys,

first, thanks for this nice and new feature!

It works nice on my N73 on symbian OS and also on my iPhone 3G.

But I´ve a question.
Do you know, when google will include traffic information for Germany in maps / latitude!?
Like it is already included in the US.

Thanks

Andy said...

ARe you kidding me? this is what I waited for? I expected SO MUCH MORE with all the IQ holed up @ Google & Apple. Extremely disappointing.

David Meade said...

Bug/Feature Request:

Add friend section lists friends name multiple times (once for each email address for them), but does not notate which entry is for what email.

Also lists yourself multiple times.

Rather than being asked to choose between:

[] Joe Smith
[] Joe Smith
[] Joe Smith

It should group them as one entry. Or, at the very least provide more detail like:

[] Joe Smith (work)
[] Joe Smith (home)
[] Joe Smith (other)

gmail/google contacts are smart enough to know what email addresses are mine, so I shouldn't be given a list of 5 different ways to invite myself.

Schattenwand said...

I switched from a symbian phone to the iphone. I was surprised how bad the iphone maps app is compared to the symbian google maps.

Now I see, I cannot expect cool updates for the iphone maps app! I will consider leaving the iphone for this...

What a shame!

casajump said...

so close, but so far away. I was so excited to see this finally activated for iPhone. Sent out a few requests to friends and now read about this. I guess I will store this one under getting real MMS from AT&T.

steve cavrak said...

Given the different natures of Apple's location service API (built into what seems like a gazillion social applications, working with wifi and with phone, etc) and Google's approach (which, from behavior on other devices is still in beta), the "web app" approach seems like a good compromise (especially since Google recently stated that "apps" are the wrong way to do services) ... to make things work on the iPhone, this will have to become an OSX API, something we might expect next ... June ?

bassi said...

I prefer HeyWay, because it supports Push notifications and its really easy control. If someone is really interested in my location, he can send me a request and I may reply instantly. Too bad it is only supported on the iPhone, so all my other friends cannot use it.

Background tracking (like on Android, WinMobile etc.) is not too smart, because it drains your battery. In doing so, it is not said that everyone follows your location, so there is a lot of traffic and battery wasted because of continious and uncontrolled tracking.

Looking forward to a Latitude version included in the original Maps app with Push&Contact list already included, of course ;)

Ramon said...

Latitude is about meeting friends by accident. I launch latitude and see which friends are nearby. To do this.. their mobile devices need to constantly (lets say each 15 minutes) tell the google latitude servers where they are. If I would be interested in knowing where a specific friend is then I would CALL or TEXT him and not ask for his current location via PUSH notifications.

So a daemon NEEDS to run in the background that does this. Navizon does just that on a jailbroken iPhone. It can push data to FireEagle so maybe it would be possible to update your Latitude location via a script on FireEagle that pushes this to Google Latitude.

bpollak said...

When clicking on google.com/latitude I am getting a 404 error. Anyone else?

casajump said...

the page has been up and down all day.

Oshawapilot said...

So terribly disappointing to not see a native app. At least something that would have allowed others to push requests for location updates as a bandaid for the lack of background updates.

As it stands all we will have is millions of iPhone Latitude users with hours, days, or weeks old location info. Useless. I'm a perfect example right now having traveled 300 kilometers since my last update so my friends are getting virtually useless info.

Back to HeyWAY (in the AppStore for anyone interested) for me. Sadly iPhone only but at least it's native and let's my friends push requests for my location, and vice versa.

Sad.

Jack said...

Google really dropped the bomb with this one. Shame they took Apple's advice...

Oh well. I'm sure someone else will come along with something very similar, then no one will remember Latitude.

Jordan said...

F"or all of you out there saying I don't have time to keep opening this App and neither do my friends and family."

What is the point of this app at all if no one has time to open it? I understand running it in the background it useful, but at the end of the day its better than nothing.

Jer said...

People still don't seem to understand... Apple's "advice" isn't actually advice, it's a "demand."

Apple told Google that they couldn't release the app they'd written.

They didn't "suggest" that people would be confused and that they might be better to to make a web version. Google did not agree and decide to go that route.

They went that route because it was the only option they had, once Apple barred them from the party.

At the end of the day, Apple decides what apps run on iPhone, and Google's Latitude app ain't one of 'em.

Apple can't prevent someone from making a web app; hence Latitude for iPhone.

Jade said...

In my book Apple has until 4.0 release to provide a mechanism that facilitates seamless Latitude functionality.

Should that not happen, I look forward to running Android on my next phone.

Edgar said...

major dissapointment on the fact that it doesn't update my location from the GPS on my iPhone.

Ronnie said...

I agree, this is useless, and a big disappointment, on the iPhone. I'm deleting the bookmark from my home screen.

Dave said...

This web app is too slow on the iPhone 3G.

HydrogenBoyz said...

TERRIBLE WASTE OF TIME ;( GOOGLE LET US DOWN

marvman said...

eugh! stupid apple!

if they don't fix their rubbish with background apps in a point update (imo waiting for 4.0 next year is too long) i'm upgrading to an android device next. they've lost the game with smartphone software and now we're waiting for them to catch up.

Kevin said...

I find it amazing that, after this post being up for two days, and quite a few comments pointing out that any problems with this should be blamed at Apple, there are still nitwits complaining at Google for this.

Amar said...

Good Google and Bad Apple !

Ultimately this bad ass attitude will help Android to become a better OS than iPhone OS. Apple, please don't decide what is best for users. Allow users to decide themselves.

Chrissy said...

http://pleasefixtheiphone.com/problems/search?searchterm=latitude

Everyone vote for this. Spread the link to every iPhone user you know who agrees with it.

Also submit iPhone feedback via the link provided above. Its unlikely Apple will listen...being Apple. Can try though.

cmr said...

"Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone"

This truly is insulting. How stupid does Apple think we are? We're going to confuse Latitude with the Maps app? Really? I suspect Apple are developing their own GPS-based social networking service and are engaging in anticompetitive business practices to shove Google out of that market.

After all, Loopt uses Google maps.
Where Am I? uses Google maps.

Why is Latitude the only thing people are likely to "confuse" with the maps app? This reeks of dishonesty.

Tiff said...

Utterly pointless to release this crippled web page (daren't even call it web application). It's neither use nor ornament.

Yes, it's apparently Apples fault for blocking(?) an application version - but to release it in it's current format is just pointless.

Rob said...

You can use google latitude with facebook with an application called Footprint History. http://apps.facebook.com/footprinthistory

Wings said...

I don't think an app like this should be done by having the iPhone continuously update its location just so it can be instantly available to a Latitude (or similar app) query. If it were continuously updated the battery life would suffer, and if it were only updated periodically then the accuracy would suffer. I'm hoping Apple or Google will some day implement what Latitude was supposed to do by a method similar to FindMyPhone, i.e., iPhone A sends a location query to iPhone B, and B takes a GPS reading (or cell tower triangulation) and reports back. I say "similar" to FMP because FMP takes way too long. One query, one GPS reading & response should be enough initially. If you query multiple times you would probably get more precise results. I can't see the entire turnaround time of query/response taking more than 20 seconds, worst case.

I'd buy it.

St0rM said...

Latitude, in this way, is ugly.

In this way, Latitude is brutally truncated of his most useful and enjoyful ability: to track your position when you're NOT using your phone at all, or when you're using it in some other way.

Justin said...

Re: What Wings said about battery life?

Nokia(Symbian) has no problem.
Blackberry has no problem.
Android has no problem.
WINDOWS MOBILE (AGGGHHH) has no problem.
I know, my friends all use these devices and have no problem with battery life. Apparently it's just the iPhone that would have an issue with battery life, poor me, stupid mug for believing the hype and buying an iPhone. People laugh at me now, poor Justin with his outmoded iPhone. Here's a suggestion for Apple - stop trying to be different!! Either you can do this exactly the same as all other major phone platforms.... OR YOU CAN'T, and what I'm suggesting is that the battery on the iPhone is indeed junk, the O/S is junk, and anything that resembles mult-tasking (see 1980's dictionary) flattens the battery in no time. Maybe it's about time Apple admits that the iPhone isn't the technological wonder we were all convinced it was. After all, if a Windows Mobile phone can multi task, and send hourly updates from Google maps, and also have Exchange push email running, on a 3G network, and the battery lasts 3 days, then Apple has done something wrong. (The phone is a Samsung Blackjack II).

hayden said...

This is great thx

John Gordon said...

Google should incent other app vendors to incorporate Latitude pings in their apps. This would give an effect similar to that achieved with other phones.

See also -
http://notes.kateva.org/2009/07/how-google-can-enable-iphone-location.html

Wings said...

Justin: Hourly updates? A small notch above useless, IMO.

just mike said...

i was really looking forward to this. thanks for the effort google. too bad apple said no.

i have no use for the web app only version.

Colleen said...

I can't add people as I keep getting a failed message. This happens on my desktop and iPhone. Help. Anyone else having this problem?

Oshawapilot said...

Exactly as I expected, out of all the fellow iPhone owning friends who installed Latitude when I notified them of it, only 1 has updated his location information since that day. Everyone else is effectively dead in the water.

A near total failure of iPhone Latitude implementation. It's sad that a feature I was looking forward to so eagerly turned out to be such a flop.

Justin said...

Wings: Just to be more specific, Up to 1 hourly updates. Given you mustn't have experence with Google Latitude on any other platform, I'll explain how it works. Every hour, a "heartbeat" is sent from Latitude, just to "touch base" so to speak, so that people checking can see that indeed information is still being sent as opposed to being "ghosted", that is your location information is stale. Now, if you actually start moving, the location information is updated every few minutes, depending on how fast you are changing location, and how far that location change was. What needs to also be remembered is that this ISN'T a stalking application - it ISN'T live tracking, it is a location aid. I know if a friend of mine is at the local shops at the same time as me and hook up, for example, but I can't track them down to the nearest square meter. The idea is that Latitude runs in the background, all the time, running in a sensable way and without running the battery flat. I watched a friend drive 700KM in one day along a coast road, and they were so kind as to let me know that battery life was exactly the same as it always was. Latitude is VERY passive in it's use of battery life. What kills battery life in any device is when it sends this data via EDGE/HSDPA - something that most phones can handle now, bar the iPhone.

Tom said...

Latitude as a Web App won't work, it's almost useless. I want Latitude to track my position in background: if this is not possible, it's really bad.

mjs3 said...

I have no friends with an iPhone, how can I see were they are, is there a way to get around this? If so, and you know how, could you please email me mjs3@rogers.com and tell me how to do-it. Thank You Mike...

Pierre said...

Hey Google Guys! Latitude is cool, but we really need a real app, with background auto update, the possibility to post some notes or pictures, gmail integration.

Nat said...

I've written a script which solves the background auto update problem. You can get it here:

http://nat.org/blog/2009/08/playnice-google-apple

You need to run it on a server; it will fetch your iPhone location from MobileMe and post it to Google Latitude automatically.

The iPhone updates MobileMe with its location continuously for the 'Find My iPhone' feature.

GeoKVANt said...

Apple - suxxx!!! I want to have Maps in background but not to use it in browser!

As fas As we know mail client and iPod player can work in background so that's why Apple - stupid bastards!