Google admits breaking Apple’s App Store rules with Google Mobile App

“Google acknowledged breaking the official rules of Apple’s iPhone software development kit when it created the latest version of the Google Mobile application for the iPhone, but denied a more serious charge,” Tom Krazit reports for CNET.

“A Google spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Google Mobile uses undocumented APIs (application programming interfaces) in order to use the iPhone’s proximity sensor to prompt a verbal search. iPhone developers were only supposed to use the APIs that Apple published in its SDK when they create their applications under the terms of that agreement,” Krazit reports. “Google has denied, however, a more serious charge that it was linking to private or dynamic frameworks in the Google Mobile application. That’s considered a big no-no in the development community.”

“Given Apple’s uneven process for approving applications onto the App Store, the question has continued to come up as to whether Apple’s ability to keep up with the flood of applications into the App Store has been stretched to the breaking point. It’s not clear whether Apple knew Google was using the undocumented APIs when it approved Google Mobile, or whether it simply missed that code,” Krazit reports. “Google might be forced to rewrite the code for Google Mobile or change the way the application uses the proximity sensor if Apple decides to enforce the terms of the SDK.”

More in the full article here.


  1. Better yet, Apple needs to document the API for the proximity sensor so that Google is no longer violating the rules. This is a great feature, and they should not have had to break any rules to implement it.

  2. I think Apple gave Google access to some of these un-advertised APIs. Apple will never slap Google’s wrist over something like this. These things happen all the time where some companies get special treatment based on their relationship.

  3. @Nic,

    That is precisely what I was thinking! The majority of end-users care about functionality more than programming code. If Google truly had to choose between either using the undocumented APIs or releasing the app, releasing the app was definitely the correct decision.

  4. I disagree with all you lot who think Googles App is fantastic!

    It would be if I could trust Google, but I don’t, not for a company that allows Chinese officials to lock up their citizens who dare surf un sanctioned sites whilst at the same time denying the US government the same access to fight drug smuggling and money laundering!

    That is one app I will avoid like the plague!!!!!!

  5. “And I read it as, Apple cleared some special undocumented APIs just for Google to enjoy.”

    It’s good that the rules are clear and all iPhone developers are equal. Can’t someone just port Android to the iPhone and put an end to the random app store approval/disapproval process?

  6. HEELLLO! Google’s CEO sits on Apple’s board of directors. Don’t you think that they JUST MIGHT be privy to some inside information which would just happen to work to both companies’ advantage?

    Come on guys, just put 2 and 2 together…

  7. Nothing particularly strange about Apple choosing to partner with some developers to get a cool feature implemented if Apple want it.

    I had expected more of this, where Apple and some partners might identify some cool features that Apple doesn’t have the resources to work on.

  8. What I find worrying about this story is the idea that “linking to private or dynamic frameworks is considered” a “no-no” by the development community.

    If it’s not allowed, then it should not be possible. Are databases the only programming environments that implement a basic application security model?

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