We agree with Crackberry Kevin getting this and WMExperts blogging about it, and you know how crazy that makes us...
Why so? Google is playing a cagy game of supplying services to all major platforms while simultaneously deploying their own smartphone OS with Android, browser with Chrome, and likely in the labs, computing OS with gLinux. Gotta keep the existing big players happy; gotta have their own backups in place just in case same big players get unhappy (or unruly). Smart strategy, equal parts Microsoft and Apple.
And it will benefit iPhone users in the short term, perhaps more than any other platform base. See, we already get helpful Google web services, and maybe some Chrome innovation will filter down to WebKit and get picked up for MobileSafari (minus the troubling security and privacy issues, of course). But here's the thing: The iPhone didn't get location aware Google Maps until firmware 1.1.3 was shown off at Macworld 2008, which if memory serves was after other smartphone platforms announced it (and after people complained about the iPhone not having it). Heck, other smartphones had Google Maps before there was an iPhone. But their UE (User Experience) wasn't very good. Early soviet design comes to mind.
In his joint talk with Bill Gates at D All Things Digital, Steve Jobs talked about the iPhone Maps App, and how it "blew away" every other maps app. And he was right. If you haven't watched the video above, watch it. Forget Street-View and look at the UE. Yes, Blackberry users really have to experience that only a daily -- or hourly -- basis. Then tap open Google Maps on the iPhone. Now imagine that with Street-View carefully, expertly -- beautifully integrated, because that's likely the next addition to that particular app.
Are we jealous? For now, you bet. But we're also grateful to our Crackberrian and WinMobile friends for putting up with that kludge until Apple wraps it up the way it's meant to be wrapped -- in just the precisely proper Jobs'-approved shade of gray, no doubt.
(That is, unless they keep the good stuff for Android from now on...)