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Google brings beta Places API to iOS, promises better location sharing

Google on Thursday launched a beta Places API for iOS, which should allow future apps with location sharing to use actual place names, instead of latitude and longitude.

The application programming interface connects with Google's database, covering over 100 million locations such as restaurants and hotels. Developers have a range of features they can implement for end-users, such as a place picker, real-time location, and/or detailed information about a place such as address, phone number, and website.

When a user is typing out search terms, an app can help autocomplete the name they're looking for.

Developers will also be able to add new places and have them appear in Google's database, or otherwise improve mapping by reporting the presence of a device at a given location.

Developers must sign up to participate in the beta. This requires not just having a Google account, but an app with a bundle identifier.

Google has had a Places API web service and JavaScript library in existence for some time, but until this week there was little specific mobile support. Although the iOS API is in beta, Android developers now have access to a completed one, including documentation and code samples.