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Google Backpedals On Turn-By-Turn GPS For iPhone 145

Posted by timothy
from the unforeseen-circumstances dept.
Smurf writes "Last October Google's Vic Gundotra announced that Google would bring turn-by-turn GPS navigation to the iPhone: 'However, Google is working with Apple on bringing it to the iPhone, and it's not ruling out licensing the software to makers of portable navigation devices used in cars throughout the world, said Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google for mobile and developers.' Nevertheless, after such plans were confirmed during a press conference in London yesterday, today the 'Don't be Evil' company backpedaled on them: '"We did not say we would bring it to iPhone, we said to date we've had it on Android and that in the future it may come to other platforms, but did not confirm this will be coming to iPhone at all," a Google spokesperson told PCWorld.'"
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Google Backpedals On Turn-By-Turn GPS For iPhone

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  • Why would they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:07AM (#31966064)

    Apple is suing Googles allies, and is a rival to the Android platform. Why would Google want to help them by giving people a reason to stay locked into the iPhone when they can just get an Android phone instead? What does Google gain from people using its free apps on other platforms?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:08AM (#31966070)

    Don't be evil company did this. Don't be evil company did that.

    It's like you are trying to force a contrast between Google and not-evil. Sorry if they're not the knight in shining armor from the land of dreams, but they're still a long way ahead of the competition.

  • Re:Why would they? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by walshy007 (906710) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:10AM (#31966078)

    What does Google gain from people using its free apps on other platforms?

    Simply, more eyeballs to sell advertisements to. But in this and some other instances, it seems the cost/benefit to fighting apples system just isn't there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:14AM (#31966090)

    Apple's behavior towards developers for the iPhone has always stuck me as a "You should feel privaleged to develop for our platform." Think about it, if you invest a lot of time and money into developing for a platform, you expect to reap the rewards of that work based on the merits of your program. Apple has decided that you should only reap those rewards if you conform to a strict ever changing set of arbitrary guidelines that are enforced in a sometimes hap-hazard way.

    Well at some point it will come time to pay the piper. People won't want to develop for your platform if all you do is stand as a barrier to making money. Google got royally screwed over by the iPhone. They had pre-approval for their app from Apple and then Apple had a change of heart. It doesn't matter why it happened, what matters is that it happened. Somebody lost money because of it. And if this happens to enough devs, eventually people will take their time and money elsewhere.

  • by Angostura (703910) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:15AM (#31966092)

    ... that would help me parse the article summary.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:29AM (#31966138) Journal
    As much as I like Google for all it's well-built, low-annoyance stuff, I have to admit there is just a fundamental, structural problem with companies - they need lots of income to keep going. I myself run, opened and closed a few... All planetary data being owned by a company is going to be a problem. But it's our own fault for directing all our attention, energy, and monies to companies, instead of community owned projects. For example there is Open Street Map [openstreetmap.org] there to prove that we can build stuff we own all by ourselves, no companies involved, thank you very much. Where we get salaries or monies to pay for bills and expenses is a problem, but problems always have many solutions. Open source civil engineering perhaps...
  • Re:Why would they? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teh31337one (1590023) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:02AM (#31966250)
    Google are fighting back!? Good.
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:26AM (#31966326) Homepage

    "Don't be evil company did this. Don't be evil company did that."

    I am one of the crazy people on Slashdot to question Google's "don't be evil" motto ending up -1 several times along with tinfoil hat jokes but I really fail to understand what kind of "evil" to reject sparing time and huge amount of money for a possibly rejected application.

    Google really did good for mobile this time, at least some people from Apple will figure some companies doesn't like to be treated like a potential virus author and porn distributor.

  • by stephenn1001 (1780930) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:17AM (#31966542)
    Why not turn the "company" into an open source one? How about the "Open Source Business Model" OSBM: - Everything is "open": The books, the "source", who owns shares, even the business model/plan. - "Work" is submitted to the "shareholders", and if they approve, then one share is given for each hour worked. - One hour = one share. Everyone's time is equal. - People who already own shares vote on who gets the hours (yes, it is a club, but you can always fork!) - All expenses and "contracted hours" are voted by shareholders. - Each month, the company sets a price where it will "buy back" shares at a specific price (the effective net worth of the company minus a few month's expenses). - The founders can maintain control of their "fork/branch" by not selling in the beginning, and later on have a "salary" by selling their new monthly shares/hours. - If the founders become "corrupt", then the business can always be forked with the goal of less corruption. I know, a very socialist idea. The "1 hour = 1 share" ratio can be changed, but then you are getting into a different issue, which is should some people's time be worth more than others?
  • by ortholattice (175065) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:26AM (#31966598)
    I hadn't visited OpenStreetMaps in several years (it was an interesting project, but a little crude and sparse back then), so out of curiosity (prompted by your post) I went there to see how it has progressed. I am impressed! I don't know about how it fares overall, but someone has put an awful of work into Lexington, MA where I live. What most impressed me the most is that it includes the walking trails in the conservation land areas, which Google does not. Compare Whipple Hill on OpenStreetMap [openstreetmap.org] with Whipple Hill on Google Maps [google.com]. (The hyperlinks are much shorter too...) So, finally I don't have to guess when I encounter partially overgrown trails on my frequents walks through them. This project needs to be more widely publicized. I had no idea how much it has improved.
  • Re:Why would they? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eyrieowl (881195) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:53AM (#31966738)

    Which would make sense...if Apple were letting Google do ad sales for the iPhone. But Apple has decided they want to try to keep that pie for themselves as well, what with their new ad program. It's not a stretch to think that they will make it more and more difficult for 3rd parties to sell ads on their platform. Which, were I Google, would make me question the value to providing a new, fancy capability for this competitor that is hell-bent on making it difficult for anyone but themselves to make money on their phones. After all, if turn-by-turn never makes it to the iPhone, Google can offer all sorts of justifications. But once they've provided it, there would be a lot more hue-and-cry if they discontinued it even if Apple's changing business practices made it unprofitable for them.

  • Backpedals? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pj81381 (1703646) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @09:05AM (#31966814)
    "Clarifies" is probably more correct. The prior article [macuser.co.uk] that indicates confirmation of navigation for the iPhone has no quoted text which actually confirms plans to bring navigation to other phones. And the above quote doesn't even read as "we won't bring navigation to the iPhone", but rather "we did not confirm we will bring navigation to the iPhone". I believe this is also in line with prior statements they've made on Google Maps Navigation, so it's not like they're really changing anything.
  • by poly_pusher (1004145) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @09:41AM (#31967030)
    This is a good thing. Apple has recently been bullying their competition, the suit against HTC. Remember Apple was sued over patent infringement on the Iphone. They settled out of court. They aren't even offering that possibility in their suit against HTC.

    The suit against HTC is a semi-passive attack at Google. With the way Apple is behaving, I don't think google should put any of their products on the Iphone. Keep them on Android and continue to grow android as a very open platform. It's why I ditched the Iphone to begin with. A single company developing this kind of regulatory power over a large group of people is dangerous.

    To any of you who for some reason think apple is some kind of enlightened company, you better hope they don't reach a personal computer market share large enough to entice the hackers...

    "But I thought Macs don't get viruses," says the Apple fanboy.
  • Re:Why would they? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rinoid (451982) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:00AM (#31967126)

    "google are fighting back"

    Against what for fracks sake?!

  • Re:Why would they? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teh31337one (1590023) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:31AM (#31967270)

    Apple is suing Googles allies, and is a rival to the Android platform.

    ^ that

  • Re:Why would they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlassHeart (579618) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#31968402) Journal

    What does Google gain from people using its free apps on other platforms?

    Wait, so when Apple attempted to lock you in by banning Flash, did you also ask the same question?

    I'm not saying Google is evil or anything like that. I'm saying that if we're only supposed to consider Google's self interest, then don't complain if Apple or Microsoft or Oracle looks out for itself.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @02:19PM (#31968656)

    Google created "Android", which is a mobile OS.

    No, it was created by Android, Inc., which Google later bought. If you're going to be pedantic about it...

    Android is not like iPhone OS in very many ways. It's a competitor sure, but tit for tat is petty childish stuff. Wanting to make their own system because they think they can do better is hardly a sin.

    No, they aren't doing it because they think they can do better. They're doing it because they want to get their ads on the increasingly lucrative smartphone market.

    Saying they deserve punishment for it is, frankly, wrong. Apple approved, then unapproved Google's app because they wanted to make their own (I forget which app it was, exactly, I recall it being a big deal though).

    First off, Apple didn't approve, then unapprove, Google Voice. And no, Apple did not make their own Google Voice app (or Apple Voice app, or anything like that). They didn't approve it because it was designed to replace the core phone functionality of the iPhone, which is very consistent with Apple's previous actions.

    But all that aside, it's extremely ironic that you say Apple shouldn't retaliate against Google for Android, but that Google should retaliate against Apple for not approving Google Voice.

    Rather than compete in their own marketplace, they decided to stifle the competition so their app would be the only option. That is just plain evil.

    Name one such app that Apple has in the App Store that they refuse competing apps for. The only thing they do that is even similar to what you are saying is they don't approve apps that replace certain fundamental functions of the iPhone. This isn't due to competition, but due to wanting to ensure a specific, consistent user experience that has a certain level (to Apple, at least) of quality. You may not agree with their decision to do things like this, but it's worked well for them, and it's absolutely absurd to call it "evil".

    So it sounds like Google has simply said "Fine, if you don't want to work with us, why should we work with you?" What it means is now pretty much everything but the iPhone will have the best free turn-by-turn navigation system on the planet. Way to go Apple!

    Yawn. If the single biggest knock against Apple is that they don't have Google's GPS Nav app, Apple is still coming out ahead in the game.

    Even with all that, Google didn't say they *won't* release their app for the iPhone, and from a business standpoint, it would be counterproductive for them to specifically *not* create one. The reason is that they will be deliberately missing out on revenue. No one (in any statistically relevant number) is going to buy an Android phone over an iPhone solely due to the lack or presence of Google's GPS Nav app. So Google may be able to get a few more ads on a few more Android phones, while simultaneously giving up on a *load* of ads on tons of iPhones.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @02:33PM (#31968738)

    The problem here is arbitrary application of rules. If Google's app was indeed approved as GP says, and Apple reversed their decision based solely on the fact that Google is now competing with them, then it just goes to show that no-one can truly trust Apple review process in any way whatsoever, and all rules they have are just rubbish.

    Except that's not what happened, so it doesn't show any of the things you said it did.

    It's even worse that than. Even if what was said is what happened (it's not), the thing about "no one can trust the process in any way, all rules are rubbish" is patently false. Thousands of developers have successfully trusted Apple's review process, and many of the rules have kept buggy, crappy software out of the App Store (people like to point out the Fart app as a counter-example to this, but consider that the Fart app is the bottom of the barrel. That barrel would have been far deeper without the approval process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @06:04PM (#31970022)

    From the, what, 200,000 apps that have been approved, how many have not? Now give us a percentage and tell us how denied apps are just overwhelming and growing. In fact they are few and far between, and normally for apps that are easily in violation of the rules (things like browsers, VOIP functionality, porn light, etc). The vast majority of apps are approved. Since just about any app that is denied hits /. at light speed, there just aren't that many and your evidence is all incidental.

    I find your comments about iPhone users with a sense of entitlement a bit odd, when the entire existence of Droid is due to a sense of entitlement from the iPhone haters. All of that noise about being open and getting what you want. "Apple doesn't let me do this. I want to do that but I can't. It's a shitty closed system", ad-nauseum.

    You should pick a different angle because frankly, that one is a bit ridiculous.

    As to recoding into C or whatnot, that argument is silly. These apps are tiny (a few megs). We're not talking about some 3-D game here. Pretty basic stuff and with the source, it's relatively easy to move from language to language if your fluent in both. If Google is already interested in moving to other mobile platforms (they are per the article) then I wouldn't be surprised if they don't already have it in a few other languages.

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