It seems that Apple has removed the Google Latitude app from its iTunes app store owing to its plans to roll out an application very similar to Google Latitude, which incidentally can only be used by iPhone users as a web app as it stands.
Apple Inc., the Cupertino, California based iPod maker, has filed patent applications for a geo-location mapping technology that is somewhat based on Google Latitude’s functionality but will also allow users to send location data via text or instant message format that will allow others to open the Map app on their iPhone to see the received coordinates.
The patent filed by the company reads “Location Sharing: Abstract – Geographic location data is sent from a first device to a second device with a modified message to signal the presence of geographic location data associated with the message.”
The technology will somehow embed the first device’s location data in text or instant message format and when the message is received by the second device, it could trigger iPhone Map app to pop-up and pin-point the geo-location of the first device.
However, it is still not clear if the initial message will provide one-time location or will allow real-time tracking of the user’s iPhone.
Let's see how privacy advocates will react to what one might see as another attempt to erode individual privacy. We will be interested to see how Google reacts to this blatant "feature-lifting" exercise. Will the search giant just leave it to simmer or will it fight back?
(9 to 5 Mac)