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Changes in Apple attitudes force changes in Google Latitude


We didn't want to let the week slip into the weekend without mention of the long-awaited release, on Thursday afternoon, of Google's Latitude client for iPhone, allowing users to update their locations to the social service and keep track of friends and family on the move (otherwise known as "iStalkU" -- no, sorry, that was Loopt, my mistake). You can access the service by browsing to on Mobile Safari on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Yes, that's right, browsing. Latitude, believe it or not, is a web app -- which means that you can't get push notifications about your contact's movements, or keep constant tabs on folks without leaving Safari running. Intriguing. As Google's Mat Balez notes in his blog post announcing the Latitude release, Google actually developed a native app for Latitude... only to have Apple, uh, suggest that the big G redo the concept as a web app to avoid user confusion with the Maps app. Really? Must have been an interesting phone call.

David Coursey at PC World is frustrated with the limitation, and it's hard to fault him. Meanwhile, location-centric apps like Brightkite are already on the store -- of course, they are also kneecapped by the lack of a backgrounding mode to send updated position fixes.

If you're a Latitude fan, give us your feedback on the new web app below.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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