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Google Admits to Knowingly Breaking App Store Rules

Google has admitted that their Mobile Search App for iPhone is breaking some of the App Store rules. However, according to a spokesperson, the notion that Google was utilizing private API’s is simply false.

As MacBlogz previously reported, Google’s Mobile App for the iPhone appeared to be breaking some iPhone SDK rules. Research done by John Gruber and Erica Sadun led them to believe that Google was tapping into private API’s.

One clear way they found Google was violating the SDK was with the use of the iPhone’s proximity sensor. Aside from manipulating the sensor to turn on and off when near your face (as is permitted in the SDK), nothing else is allowed. However, Google is activating the proximity sensor for other commands, such as speaking into the application, as well as delivering an audible prompt to your search terms. The only way this is possible, according to Gruber, is with the use of private API’s that Apple has not offered in the iPhone SDK.

However, Google has publicly explained that they are in fact not tapping into any sort of private API’s or development frameworks. As one could assume, Google wouldn’t risk the entire solidarity of their application by tapping into a private API, developing under unethical methods and attempting to “pull a fast one” on iPhone users.

“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,” Tom Krazit explains for Cnet. “Google has denied, however, a more serious charge that it was linking to private or dynamic frameworks in the Google Mobile application.”.

If Apple chooses to enforce the rules of the iPhone SDK, then Google could definitely be forced to rewrite the application. Or at least alter the way the app utilizes the proximity sensor.

Comments [14]

14 Comments to “Google Admits to Knowingly Breaking App Store Rules”

jojo22 @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:26 pm
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Makes sense, I didn’t think Google would be putting their entire credibility and reputability (in Apple’s App Store) on the line for voice recognition. It’s not that important.

I do however think that Google could get away with a lot more than most (smaller, in-house) development firms. Simply because they’re Google.

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Casey @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:56 pm
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Don’t forget Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board of directors – making one of his duties to review the performance of the chief executive…

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Aviv @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:59 pm
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It’s just a twisted situation in my opinion. Android, App Store, Board members, so many relationships between the boards, directly competing products, and entire platforms, services compete (mobile me, Gapps), it’s out of control…

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Harvey @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:41 pm
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Where, oh where has my Google stock gone? Oh where? Oh where can it be? Oh yeah, it’s in the fucking dumps and it’s not getting out for a long time coming.

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Harvey @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:43 pm
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I should’ve sold at $700 :(

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Aviv @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:47 pm
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@Harvey: Where did u get in? (You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, I know it gets sensitive).

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Harvey @ November 25th, 2008 at 9:52 pm
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No worries: it’s anonymous, I got in on March 2006 when it was hovering in the high $330’s. Now it’s under $300.

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Casey @ November 25th, 2008 at 10:10 pm
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At least you didn’t have your stock options (and successful career) tied up in Bear Stearns – have foreclosed on your 5th ave home, now drink scotch for breakfast, and wear a bathrobe to work as a poor writer for Macblogz.com instead of the three piece Zegna your wifed hocked when she left you. Hummm…

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Aviv @ November 25th, 2008 at 10:18 pm
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ZING!

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rex Jill Jones @ November 25th, 2008 at 10:20 pm
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So does the app get banned?

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xavier @ November 25th, 2008 at 10:32 pm
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Absolutely no way this application gets banned by apple. It’s in the app store and people currently love it. If Apple by chance, chooses to force Google into rewriting portions of the app, most likely a quiet update will be released to abide by Apple’s rules.

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T B @ November 26th, 2008 at 4:42 am
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ha ha ha ha ha CASEY you are funny :)

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ayasin @ November 28th, 2008 at 5:16 pm
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Many apps do what Google has done here (use undocumented aspects of public frameworks). Apple hasn’t bitched about them. I don’t see Google getting a special pass here, there’s just a wink and a nod understanding that you can use some undocumented aspects of public frameworks. Linking to private frameworks or lazy loading private frameworks WILL get your app denied or pulled however.

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Aviv @ November 28th, 2008 at 6:33 pm
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@ayasin: Right. It would be nearly impossible for me to believe that Google would condone the use of private API’s. That’s too big of a “no-no”

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