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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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  • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:18AM (#31966104) Homepage

    That's already a feature [bbc.co.uk] on some devices.

  • Why not sooner... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wierdy1024 (902573) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:25AM (#31966128)

    I don't understand why all mobile makers are so touchy about turn-by-turn navigation.

    When you've paid for the map data, and got GPS hardware in your device, it seems crazy not to implement turn by turn navigation, since the added software development cost is pretty minimal.

    I suspect the problem is more of a licensing one - for example, when turn by turn navigation came out for android, it was US only for a while. A hack existed to enable it in the rest of the world, but that was soon stopped by google. Only later did it get released for the rest of the world.

    Considering that it worked with a hack, it can't have been a softwatre issue that was preventing worldwide release - the only possibility is that licensing and company politics was getting in the way. Maybe people like tomtom get exclusive rights to do navigation on map data, and therefore while google has rights to use the maps, they don't have rights to do turn by turn directions with them?

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:32AM (#31966154) Journal

    Whenever anyone speaks in generalities about offering great things in the future, she always thinks they're talking about her.

    "Other platforms" really doesn't mean many options if you're talking about the smart phone market, but it also is not synonymous with "iPhone." I would not be surprised to see Google start to hold back a little on the iPhone development in order to bolster the desirability of the Android platform. They've been giving Redmond the finger practically since the beginning*. Plus, with King Steve talking trash about Android, I wouldn't be surprised if they put a hold on some of their development as a little bit of petty revenge. It's not like there's another turn by turn package that's even close to free for the iPhone.

    *Yes, I own a WM phone and, yes, I'm a little disappointed that several features in the GoogleApps world have not been ported to the WM system (the ability to see multiple calendars - even if only by using tags - is at the forefront; I couldn't care less about turn by turn).

  • by LordKronos (470910) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:10AM (#31966272) Homepage

    If you are going to claim that Google said it would be on the iPhone, then you might want to actually include a quote and link for an article that says that. The one included says they are WORKING on bringing it to the iPhone. Come on, lots of people have been working on bringing lots of things to lots of platforms, but they don't always work out. I don't call that backpedaling.

    I swear, this is why some companies feel they have to remain so secretive about everything...because you announce the POSSIBILITY of something and then they act like you promised and crucify you when it doesn't happen or doesn't have all the features they thought it should.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:08AM (#31966844)

    Navteq belongs to Nokia

    Hmmm the plot thickens. Nokia does have a major axe to grind with apple. If all google maps come from a company owned by nokia you could see them not agreeing to lic them to google for use on apple.

  • A) Google has been developing Android for years. They purchased the company who initially developed Android before the release of the first iPhone. Apple got it's panties in a knot when google finally released it.

    B) Maps is definitely not developed in C, C++ and Objective C, so getting the code to run on an iphone would violate their approval policies.

    C) No sane development shop should be developing on the iPhone platform anyway. When an arbitrary and capricious bureaucracy can kill your income stream at a whim and has been shown to do so on a regular and increasingly common basis, the level of risk there is unreasonable. Releasing an iPhone app is a solid reason for your company's stock to go /down/, as it shows that the management team is reckless with a company's resources.

    D) It always galls me that iPhone users seem to have some sort of feeling of entitlement towards getting everything they want. Google doesn't do /free/ turn by turn for your OS and that makes them evil? Get over yourselves. You are not entitled to google making anything for free for you.

    Google not making a free app that many companies sell for hundreds of dollars on an OS that explicitly bans them from reusing their code developed by a business that has been shown to be highly hostile to them may be the dumbest reason I've ever see floated for them having violated "don't be evil".

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:16PM (#31970446)

    And if your entire business folds on a single set of apps on a single platform, you reap what you sow.

    If you are making money on software, you make a commercial decision based on the potential return. I'm not necessarily agreeing with Apple's decision to limit the language you can use (I think it is a little silly to be honest), but you have to work with the landscape in front of you.

    MS did it with DirectX - an interface that was exclusive to Windows. If you wanted your game to work well on Windows, you used DirectX, and of course you did because of the installed base of Windows users. (and ignoring the graphics side of it, since there is obviously OpenGL, but there's more to it than just graphics - it handles controller input and so on, and it's a no brainer to use on Windows - your game will have better performance if you do use it). So now if you want a multiplatform game, you need to run two codebases.

    The iPhone is a similar beast. Like it or loathe it, it has a large share of the market (large enough that writing apps for it as a mobile apps developer is a no brainer), so you work with the restrictions because the rewards are so high.

    The GP was asserting that any company that devoted resources to developing for this highly lucrative market was "reckless" and should be a good indication for their stock price (I guess he assumes all companies are traded on the stock market) should go down because of it.

    I am not advocating single platform development, merely the ludicrous assertion that developing apps for the iPhone was somehow a crazy business decision. Clearly the mobile market is booming right now, which is excellent - with a decent choice of competing operating systems in the iPhone OS, Android and WM. Anyone wanting to seriously make money in that area should definitely be looking at all avenues, even if it does mean your code is not quite as simple as you like - it's only natural that the competing smartphone interests will attempt to differentiate themselves. It may be a crappy move on Apple's parts, but they hold the keys to a lucrative pot of gold.

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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