Google Admits to Sidestepping App Store Rules

An earlier analysis of the new version of the Google Mobile App for the iPhone showed that in order to achieve some of its functionality, the ability to detect when the iPhone is raised to a person's head to perform a voice search, it had to use undocumented APIs. On Tuesday, Google admitted that it's been caught with its App Store rules down.

A Google spokesperson told C|Net that the Mobile App does indeed use undocumented APIs. At the same time Google denied that it was linking to private or dynamic frameworks, which is a far more serious charge.

The problem with the use of undocumented APIs, of course, is that those APIs can be changed at any time, rendering the application non-functional, or at least that particular feature.

However, more worrisome to other developers is the fact that according to terms of the SDK, such an app should not be able to make it through the App Store approval process. Since the App Store approval process has proved to be somewhat spotty at times.

The rules are supposed to make the playing field even for developers. The question is, did the app make it through because:
  • Apple missed the use of undocumented APIs
  • Google cut a deal
  • Google has political clout
If it's simply an oversight, will Google be required to rewrite its app? If not, how will other developers, who have cried foul in the past over App Store policies, react?