Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

Google & T-mobile’s answer to the I-Phone, the G1, is to hit the UK shelves on the 30th October 2008. This is a very exciting time for computer nerds, who will be able to write applications that take advantage of a rich Google API and features such as touch screen and GPS.

For example, I envisaged combining the G1’s GPS sensor with Google Maps to create a Satellite Navigation system. Now I’d heard that the I-Phone had forbidden their developers from writing such an app, due to a possible deal being stuck with TomTom, but I wouldn’t expect Android to have the same restrictions.

Because Google are differentiating themselves from the I-Phone by being open, I expected that they would want to encourage their developers to innovate. Whether my sat-nav app was good or bad app, the responsibility lies with me and not Google – if people don’t like it, then they don’t have to download it.

Unfortunately, on 21st October 2008, Google release a Terms of Service for the Maps API.

The following is taken from the License Restrictions section:-

8.7 use the Service or Content with any products, systems, or applications for or in
connection with (a) real time navigation or route guidance based on position
input from a sensor (including but not limited to any visual or audible turn-by-
turn route guidance)
; or (b) any systems or functions for automatic or
autonomous control of vehicle behavior; or (c) dispatch, fleet management,
business asset tracking, or similar enterprise applications (for avoidance of
doubt, you are permitted to use the Service to create Maps API
Implementations to track people or assets equipped with a sensor, where the
tracking of the people or assets is not critical to the core business or service of
the application user. For example, you are permitted to use the Maps APIs to
create “Friend Finder” applications that allow consumers to track the locations
of their friends’ mobile devices, but you are not permitted to use the Maps APIs
to create “Business Asset Tracking” applications that track or locate business or
government users’ field sales or field service personnel, vehicles or other
assets that are critical (not incidental) to the core business or service of the
application user)

Why this restriction is in place? Are Google so worried about being held accountable for a second rate application – like if I’m trying to find my way to Birmingham and I end up in Leamington Spa, I might sue them? Alternatively they might be thinking about releasing their own satellite navigation application in the near future, taking the same route as Apple to stop any potential competitors.


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