Location, location: Google and Apple suffer mobile embarrassment

Posted on April 29, 2011


Techie and SEO blogs were abuzz recently when it was announced that Apple was using its iPhone to gather location information on users. The Wall Street Journal stirred up controversy when it reported on findings that iPhones collected and stored location information, even when the function had been manually turned off. In-house tests found that location data was stored within the phone, and did not appear to be sent back to the company.

Although the test didn’t appear to uncover any major breach in privacy, the announcement generated a significant amount of panic, and not just amongst iPhone users. The US Congress called for an investigation into the issue, following in the footsteps of European and South Korean governments.

The revelation threatens to be a major blip in the popularity of smartphones. Google’s Android phones haven’t escaped the location controversy, with Google hastening to refute any privacy issues for its own smartphone brand.

The controversy is yet another indication of the uncertain ground smartphones stand on. Individuals and businesses are both feeling their way and discovering acceptable boundaries. It appears that both Apple and Google may not have anticipated the harsh reaction of users being monitored on their daily trip to Merseyside.

For businesses, however, the panic over privacy may have an impact on mobile SEO plans. With Google and Apple now the main competitors in mobile search, a lack of trust for one or the other could definitely tip the scales. Those working in SEO will be watching with bated breath as to the outcome of this latest rumpus.

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