updated 07:50 am EST, Mon December 13, 2010
Google Latitude for iPhone arrives 1.5 years late
Google early this morning at last released a native version of Google Latitude for the iPhone (free, App Store). The title as confirmed by its brief tease last week fully supports iOS 4 and optionally provides constant position updates in the background on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Privacy is still a focus as users can selectively turn off both background updates, hand-pick a location or turn off positioning altogether.
The official release comes roughly a year and a half after Google was forced to release an HTML5 version for the iPhone after Apple rejected the original version for reportedly being too similar to Apple's own Maps tool. Critics have argued that the initial block was motivated by attempts to punish Google for Android, where Latitude has been a native part of Google Maps itself for most of the platform's history.
It's widely suspected that a loosening of App Store rules, prompted by Adobe-backed FTC and EU investigations into approval processes, may have changed Apple's approach. Apple recently allowed Google Voice after a similar delay and what's believed to be for identical reasons.