Blurry Cam Alert! Is This a Sneak Peek at Google Latitude for the iPhone?

Google recently announced their Latitude service, which lets you and your friends share your location, and while they've made it available to some platforms, the iPhone version hasn't surfaced yet... Or has it?

A tipster has sent us a photo of what looks to be Latitude integrated into the iPhone Map App. Now, we know that Apple, not Google created the Map app. Based on Google's back-end data, to be sure, but Apple made the interface. So, if Latitude is coming by way of Maps, Apple is going to have to be the one who releases it -- and that means it won't be until another firmware update (2.3 at the earliest, 3.0 at the outside).

However, last we heard Google was going to release it themselves, as part of their awesome (yet controversial) Google Mobile App. If that's the case, unless they're planning a massive redesign that happens to look just like the Maps app, then we're not sure what we're really looking at up there.

What do you think? Real? Real fake?

And either way, would Latitude be better combined with Maps than with Google Mobile?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Blurry Cam Alert! Is This a Sneak Peek at Google Latitude for the iPhone?


Apple will release it probably with 3.0 they need a massive update to fight off all these amazing phones coming out. Most of the early iphone adopters are coming off their contracts and AT&T and apple will want to keep them plus add new people.

All I am saying is that it better be out yesterday.
Because their blog posts stated it will be out 'very soon'. I think it's safe to say that everyone's definition of 'very soon' came and past after a week.
What's the deal Google?!

And I would rather see it within the Google Mobile app for now, so we can play with it sooner.
But ultimately I would rather see it in Google Maps, the next OS update can take care of that. Whenever that maybe.

You still think there will be a 2.3? Just have this feeling that nothing else will be coming until 3.0 with the 3rd gen iPhone probably.

This will probably be integrated into Maps.. But really is there any more room for buttons in the maps app? Where are they gonna put the settings.

I suppose the Drop Pin and Show Traffic buttons could be combined into one split button to make room for a Latitude button. Im sure they could easily make it happen if they had to.

Where does it say that Apple wrote the interface for the map app?
Read the legal notices in the app and you find everybody EXCEPT Apple.
The copyright says google. Then it goes on to list the image/ map copyright holders. Then other copyrighted software included.
No Apple.
Item of interest: Speex copyright is mentioned. That says there might be voice capabilities built into maps app, becasuse that's what that codec is most often used for.

Um, Steve Jobs said they wrote it, spent like 5 min. talking about it on stage… "Best maps ever" "Google was blown away". It’s been widely reported ;)

Exactly. A copyright doesn't necessarily mean "authored by" or "written by." It just indicates who "owns" the rights. I've done lots of work for people who own the rights to the work.

@Icebike, as others have said, Apple wrote it, using google maps stuff, hence all the copyrights. not to mention the icon for maps is of Infinite Loop :-)
If its built into maps i 'might' use it. If its in google mobile, i'll never use it. I don't use the app. I would've thought google would want this to be a 'everyone has it' kind of app, otherwise the user base will never make it large enough that its worthwhile. So i expect to see this built into maps.

Apple doesn't own the rights to claim anywhere. The same way whomever designs Apple's web site (or whomever designed Pepsi's logo) doesn't have a copyright on those works. It's called "Work for Hire" rights.

Come on, this is definitely fake. Someone just photoshopped a screenshot of the directions view of The UI of the blurry photo does not make any sense.
First off, why would there be an edit button in the top left corner. Sure there must be a way of selecting friends, searching and controlling privacy. But "Editing" like for directions would not be analogous and so the UI would have to be differentiated.
Secondly, I seriously doubt Apple would adopt the "Loopt style" display of friend info (a picture and name embedded in a banner bar at the top of the screen). It is a poor ui choice because it is hard for the user to know which user on the map the info is referring to (the red instead of purple pins does not cut it). Apple would most likely adapt their floating disclose bubbles with a name and picture embedded if they were going to do this.
It would be very interesting if Google is able to convince Apple to include the Latitude service in the but it would come at a major cost to the simplicity of the

While Apple is pulling data from Google and Yahoo's firehoses for their Maps and assorted widgets (Stocks, Weather, etc.) there's no way they aren't coding every square pixel of every built-in app themselves, including the last tiny highlight on the icon.
Steve Jobs just doesn't roll any other way.
"Oh, yeah, Google, killer homepage, why don't you just go ahead and build the Maps app, I don't even need to see it first... just ship it over when you're done..."
Google never even saw Maps until it was done, I'd wager ;)

I don't think having Latitude within the Maps app would necessarily complicated it. Why couldn't they just a have a "Latitude button" that when clicked opens a new map with all the required buttons and settings? Similar to the way the Phone app has a Contacts button.

"Steve Jobs just doesn’t roll any other way."
We've been here before Rene. OSX=Ripped off BSD. Safari=Ripped off Konqueror.
The whole Apple rebirth was stolen from the opensource community, and only grudgingly and after threat of lawsuit were any contributions returned, and then only to KDE, nothing to the BSD community.
I get that you Glorify Steve, he's done wonders for Apple, but an honest admirer would at least acknowledge that the man is an intellectual thief.

Wow, off topic and personalized, not sure that strengthens your argument or helps the discussion, but let's press on:
Even extended into OS X/BSD, Apple still painted Aqua. Similar to Maps on the iPhone, Apple took Google's data and created a UI.
I think that's fairly widely known, isn't it?

There are two "basic" ways Apple and Google could've went about Maps. Either...
a) Apple paid Google a hefty fee to use their maps and corporate trademark (at the bottom left of the map) for use on APPLE'S exclusive app. Therefore, leaving Google no way of ever being able to yank the app, copy the app, or demand changing the app.
b) Google paid Apple to develop the app while providing Apple with full creative freedom (which I highly doubt).
Either way, Apple gets a nice app to help sell it's devices, while Google's name is promoted on the app. I'd be willing to bet that (a) was the way it "basically" went down. Then again, they possibly could've just bartered... (cool app in exchange for advertising) but that's unlikely.
Like Rene implied, Apple isn't foolish enough to have Google own the iPhone Maps app... just the copyright protection of it's name, maps, street views, etc (which, of course, they indeed CAN change at anytime), hence the copyright statements on the app.

No,no, not intended to be personal. Not to you any way. Sorry if it sounded that way.
Its Steve Jobs I was taking to task. Not you.
I'm not sure that most Apple users even recognize that OSX is not an Apple invention.
Have you opened the iPhone, gone to Settings, General, Legal and read those notes? Every flavor of BSD is mentioned, along with the GPL. If you release anything which includes code licensed under the GPL you have to release all of the source code (yours as well as the included stuff). Does Apple do that ? Can I get the source code for the OSX running on the iPhone?
Answer: No.
(And while you are reading those Legal notes pay attention to the fact that GOOGLE's privacy policy is carried front and center verbatim, even tho the only google related app that comes with the phone is the Maps App.)
So the fact that Steve claims Apple wrote Maps, and "Boomed" about it for 5 minutes means very little.
I still think he was handed the code intact from Google and stripped it down to bare bones and called it his own. That would be consistent with his track record. He copyrights everything he possibly can, and the fact that there is not an Apple copyright mentioned for Maps says his lawyers wouldn't let him.

@Icebike On the one hand i think you're arguing the same point "handed the code intact from Google and stripped it down to bare bones" Well yes, they've used the google maps infastructure rolled into the maps app, and called it, maps, and credited google in all the proper ways. Just as you've said. but you've lost me and I'm sure a lot of readers when you again say "there is not an Apple copyright mentioned for Maps"
as Steve above says, they have nothing to copyright! they have created, under licence, the maps app, using google's product. The copyright for the code in maps belongs to google. The maps application that utilises that code, is Apples.
You DO understand the concept of licencing right?

I don't think you're differentiating between "Copyright" ownership and "App" ownership.
Apple owns the Map app. Google only owns the rights to the app's content (maps, data, street views, etc) that Apple has paid Google to use on the app.
For example, the Detroit Red Wings don't print their T-Shirts... T-Shirt companies print them after paying the Red Wings hundreds of thousands of dollars in retainer fees for trademark usage, then (hopefully) sell enough shirts to make a profit. That's why the T-shirt company's name isn't in the copyright, but rather the Red Wings name is (even though they had nothing to do with designing nor printing them).
Apple made a Maps app and used Google's products to do so. Google's products mentioned above (not including the app itself), remain protected by those copyrights you see and speak of. Apple protects it's rights and patents to its apps elsewhere.
Don't know how better to explain it.

By the way, isn't You Tube a Google-related app, also?
( :shock: Uh oh, here we go again... )

Calling Jobs would seem a bit strong, since the BSD allows the type of take-without-giving-back use practice Apple often employs. While a free software purist might want Apple to behave better, and may even find their actions immoral, there is nothing illegal about it.
That said, I had no idea the iPhone used GPL'd software until you pointed it out. I love my iphone, but i also contribut to different OSS projects and believe quite strongly in respecting author's license terms. Seeing references to the GPL on my iPhone was disappointing. would love to hear from somebody in the know why Apple's use of libgcc et. al. qualifies for an exception; otherwise, this would be intellectual theft, if not actual theft.

So is the argument, for example, if Apple uses the Darwin kernel, they have to contribute back the code for Final Cut Pro?
Typical pragmatic view, which I lean towards, is that both FOSS and proprietary software help each, and software in general, by pushing the industry forward like one of those old double-pump rail cars. If we avoid extremists on both sides, each makes the other stronger.
Otherwise it's just the flip side of Big Media DRM content-lock zealots.
(Though we haven't heard anything about Google's GPL practices on the thread yet, and aren't we concerned they've home-brewed a gLinux to crunch all that Map data and not contributed it back ;) )

Rene, I cannot tell if you are joking around or truly have no understanding of the license issues, so I will just go through your examples:
1) So is the argument, for example, if Apple uses the Darwin kernel, they have to contribute back the code for Final Cut Pro?
Nope. Darwin's open source origins are all BSD based, and the BSD license does not require contributions, nor does it contain any clauses about linked or related works. Apple is under zero obligation to contribute anything back to these codebases - ever.
2) Google’s GPL practices on the thread yet, and aren’t we concerned they’ve home-brewed a gLinux to crunch all that Map data and not contributed it back ;) )
Nope -- not concerned one bit. I would like Google to contribute everything back, because I selfishly would love to learn from their work, but the GPL does not care one whit what you do with the code INTERNALLY, FOR YOUR OWN USES. Google, Apple, or Joe's Crab Shack can modify GPL'd software to their heart's content, without restrictions, as long as they keep that code to themselves. Once they DISTRIBUTE that code, they have to distribute under the provisions of the GPL. Which brings us to...
3) Apple using GPL'd software on the iPhone. Clearly, Apple is distributing software -- to us, the purchasers of this phone. Clearly, they are using GPL'd software, as there are 2 copies of the GPL referencing at least 3 libraries. Some authors offer dual licenses or exceptions which allow parties to distribute under other conditions. If Apple is not operating under one of those conditions, they are in breach of that license. Period.
GPL authors say "use my works for free however want, but, if you distribute it to others, you must give back your changes." Apple used this software, but (apparently) has not honored the only restriction the author put on it. That is neither moral nor legal (contractually).
There are specific exceptions, though, and hopefully, Apple is using only libraries that fall under the GPL linking exception, and in such a way that complies with that exception. That is the clarification I asked for earlier.

I was being semi-facetious, and apologies for that. I'm moderately familiar with BSD, GPL, Apache, and some of the other licences.
Like you, I hope Apple is respecting their licence obligations as they expect others to respect Apple's licences and not jailbreak or hackintosh, etc.
If not, they'll get sued eventually. Bad business for them to be poor corporate citizens.

Hi... i just updated to 3.3.1 and now the icons above the content area of posts are missing and the links buttons are turned off. How do I link to a url in a post? I know how to do it in HTML, but I really miss the icons.