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.

26 Comments

  1. The whispering in your ear whilst the app searches is a little creepy i have to say!
    Regardless of that, it’s a good app. It would also benefit from a bit of localization fine-tuning. I’m in the UK and don’t consider myself to have much of a discernible accent but still have a few problems.
    Still, my imitation American voice is coming along nicely now ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. If you could look into your Mac applications, you’d find some of those also use undocumented APIs as well. It’s been going on for a very long time.

    Sometimes, it’s the only way to add certain features to an app, as Google has just proven.

    All this situation is doing is bringing a very old issue to the front of everyone’s minds, which is probably a good thing.

  3. I guess if google is admitting it, but I assumed that google did not sign the same SDK agreement that regular schmoos did. Since they were in on it before the beginning, they must have a separate contract.

  4. You can thank techno-dilettante bloggers like Harry McCracken for whining, arching and screaming at Apple for not releasing the recent update to Google App until – get ready – THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY. He made it seem like it was the end of the world. But ask Mr. McCracken if he feels bad that Google made a Bozo no-no in its programming (possibly opening up countless iPhone users to security risks) and I’m sure you’ll hear dead silence. Or you’ll hear him blame Apple for this.

    My point is this: It’s up to all of us to hold pundits and self-annointed bloggers accountable. If that means ganging up on these twits and shaming them, great. They have the power of the pen and the press. We have to use people power to discredit the Enderles of this world, so that their big mouths and lack of common sense is laid bare.

    Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone!

  5. A paranoid person might think, as Google ‘pre-announced’ this app while it was still in the approval process and a well orchestrated chorus of bloggers and media outlets then loudly wondered what was taking Apple so long to approve it, Google chose to blackmail Apple into allowing use of an undocumented API (subject to arbitrary changes without notice). Google can tie Apple’s hands when it comes to improving the unpublished API for the proximity sensor, or simply blame Apple if the Google app ever stops working after a future update. Google is not playing straight with Apple or iPhone customers.

  6. “You can thank techno-dilettante bloggers like Harry McCracken for whining, arching and screaming at Apple for not releasing the recent update to Google App until – get ready – THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY.”

    Which means they forced Apple to cave on their no private API use policy and let this one out. Good on them. It sets a precedent for other developers using private “apple only” APIs.

  7. A Google spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Google Mobile uses undocumented APIs (application programming interfaces)

    If you could look into your Mac applications, you’d find some of those also use undocumented APIs as well. It’s been going on for a very long time.

    Remember when MS was evil for having hidden API’s for themselves and their close allies?

    You get the idea.

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

    This of course means Google Mobile needs to be blacklisted and pulled from the App Store.

    Fair is fair, Apple. Or are some developers more equal than others?

  9. “Remember when MS was evil for having hidden API’s for themselves and their close allies?”

    Apple is more evil now than Microsoft ever was. It’s just their small size that keeps their evil activities from being squashed by government regulation as they were with Microsoft.

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