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Breaking: iOS 6 version of Google Maps released [U]

updated 10:00 pm EST, Wed December 12, 2012

New app includes turn-by-turn, iOS 5.1 and up supported

[Updated to reflect actual release information] Just after 11PM Eastern Standard Time, Google unexpectedly released an Apple-approved iOS implementation of Google Maps to the App Store. The new app reinstates Google Maps to the latest version of Apple's mobile OS, purged in the migration to iOS 6. Google's new Maps application (free) implements Google local search, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit directions, and Street View. Though many will view the release as a concession by Apple, it may in fact be a small victory for the company.

The news of the potential release was broken on AllThingsD earlier this evening. Electronista spoke with a Google engineer, who claims that the app has been in review by Apple for some time.

A Google spokesman previously said that "we believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system."

The new version for the iOS isn't universal -- meaning that the code is specifically for the iPhone. According to David Pogue, Google said "that goodies like those will be coming soon."

MacNN received confirmation that the company was working on an iOS 6-compatible version of the app, which was removed by Apple after a failure to get Google to implement features it reserved for its Android version such as turn-by-turn navigation, shortly after iOS 6 was announced -- despite later official denials from Google. The fact that Google was forced into bringing the iOS version up to par -- Apple's original goal -- gives Apple a popular alternative while its own Maps application continues to grow and improve.

Users of Apple's iOS 6 Maps have complained about inaccuracies, missing features, and instances of badly-rendered graphics, though complaints have receded as Apple has worked to upgrade the application through background updates. Apple yanked the Google-powered version of its own Maps app out of iOS 6, even though it supposedly had over a year left on its contract, and implemented its own mapping solution that features vector illustrations, better offline performance, turn-by-turn and (on the latest iPhone models) voice navigation and Siri integration.

Nonetheless, mapping errors, incomplete coverage and other issues caused users to feel that the Apple-provided feature was inadequate, with Google having more comprehensive coverage and a wider range of features. Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a rare apology over the state of the app shortly after the iOS 6 launch, and has promised continued improvements.

Update 2: Google has also released an SDK for third-party developers looking to hook into the app. Based on a URL system, the SDK allows launching into Google Maps to finish a search, show a map, open up Street View, or check walking, driving, or public transit directions. API keys can be used to integrate mapping and traffic content.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. coffeetime

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-15-06

    I am camping outside tonight waiting for Google Map. I really miss the street view. The web version of Google Map is super slow and un-useable.

  1. Yokohama3021

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-22-12

    I believe this is very big of Apple. It takes a lot of real strength to admit you made a mistake then to let a competitor in the door. In Japan the Apple maps are poor at best. Would I switch back to Apple maps? Yes I would when they get on an even par with Google here. I will always buy a company's products that show true customer support and I believe this puts Apple in a class above all the rest. Thank you very much Apple. Now Google your app was rushed to market and has some issues. Fix them. Apple has opened the door so you do the right thing too!!! Of course none of them listen to any of this.

  1. jpadhiyar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-16-12

    At last. At long last. We reviewed the map today and found that it retains much of Google's simplistic, flat-design fervor. It doesn't come with those stylized elements but then, the best thing about the map is the accuracy of data (except a few rare cases). Google is back again.

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Originally Posted by jpadhiyarView Post

    ...Google is back again.



    Sorry but I disagree. Google screwed Apple users with the intentionally lame version of Google Maps in iOS 5 (no turn-by-turn, raster graphics, poor readability, etc.) and forced Apple to build its own core-OS maps version for iOS 6. That took 100 million users away from Google, a huge loss for Google. Now most of that 100 million and most new users will stick with the core iOS Apple Maps most of the time. Including me.

    To me the nice thing about the new Google version will be for comparing against the core Apple Maps for route choices and addresses. And of course for street view when necessary, but usually I prefer flyover view anyway.

    -Allen

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by SierraDragonView Post



    Sorry but I disagree. Google screwed Apple users with the intentionally lame version of Google Maps in iOS 5 (no turn-by-turn, raster graphics, poor readability, etc.) and forced Apple to build its own core-OS maps version for iOS 6. That took 100 million users away from Google, a huge loss for Google. Now most of that 100 million and most new users will stick with the core iOS Apple Maps most of the time. Including me.
    To me the nice thing about the new Google version will be for comparing against the core Apple Maps for route choices and addresses. And of course for street view when necessary, but usually I prefer flyover view anyway.
    -Allen


    That's Apple's version of this story.

    It could be that the turn-by-turn and vector graphics required using a newer version of the Google Maps API which could have included license fees that Apple wasn't willing to pay. The basic Google Map data is available as a public API though, unless there are license issues I'm not aware of Apple could have still used the Google mapping data with its own app.

    My point is that we don't really know what happened here, and it doesn't make sense to take one narrative at face value.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    This app is available in iOS 5 too, which is great for those of us like myself that haven't updated to iOS 6 yet!

  1. Pilsner6910

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-17-10

    I just opened Google Maps and it has a Shoppers Drug Mart and a local coffee house right where my house should be, so Google maps has the same issues that everyone and their dog complained about with Apples Maps.

    now i wonder if Google Maps will get the same criticism as Apples Maps or will people shrug it off? I say people shrug it off because its more trendy to b*tch and moan about Apple products these days

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by Pilsner6910View Post


    I just opened Google Maps and it has a Shoppers Drug Mart and a local coffee house right where my house should be, so Google maps has the same issues that everyone and their dog complained about with Apples Maps.
    now i wonder if Google Maps will get the same criticism as Apples Maps or will people shrug it off? I say people shrug it off because its more trendy to b*tch and moan about Apple products these days


    Maybe, but it is not at all illogical to think that on the whole Google Maps is more accurate than iOS maps. Not just because of the various anecdotes and reports, but simply because Google has been developing Maps for much longer, and certainly from a performance perspective Google's cloud services are industry leaders, their biggest competition probably being Amazon.

  1. mojkarma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-13-11

    Originally Posted by Pilsner6910View Post

    I just opened Google Maps and it has a Shoppers Drug Mart and a local coffee house right where my house should be, so Google maps has the same issues that everyone and their dog complained about with Apples Maps.
    now i wonder if Google Maps will get the same criticism as Apples Maps or will people shrug it off? I say people shrug it off because its more trendy to b*tch and moan about Apple products these days



    No, completely wrong. The problem with Apple maps is that they show a dessert while there is a town. That's the problem and not the irrelevant fact that a shop is put wrongly on a map. The problem is a global one. Besides the USA and some major cities in Europe, Apples maps are pretty much bad. My hometown is clearly shown on google maps, with every single street named. On apple maps it's just a point. I can't see my town at all besides just having a point on the map and a name in the apple map. And on google maps I even have street view for my town. That's the problem and that's where criticism came from.

  1. DaJoNel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-14-10

    On an international level, I believe Google maps is still overall more reliable (although very far from flawless). In my own experiences, in my hometown of approximately 5,000 people, Apple's maps are FAR more accurate than Google's. Many of Google's street names are incorrect and a lot of phantom roads exist (they are roads on Google but don't exist in real life). Apple has errors in my hometown as well, but not nearly as many. Actually, the only maps service to have 100% accurate maps in my hometown is Waze. Probably because I'm the one editing them... :lol:

  1. coffeetime

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Google Maps is slow on my iPhone 4. I still prefer the old classic Google Maps which is more snappy. I am sticking with Apple Maps because it's fast and responsive. I will use Google Maps only for Street View.

  1. bobolicious

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ...either of these without an offline (download) mode makes them totally dependent on a live connection and a data plan...
    For the cost of less than 2 months of data should users ask if they should opt for options such as Navigon or TomTom...?

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Originally Posted by boboliciousView Post


    For the cost of less than 2 months of data should users ask if they should opt for options such as Navigon or TomTom...?



    Good question. Will an app like TomTom fully integrate with Siri as well as Apple Maps in iOS6? IMO Siri and Apple Maps rock.

    -Allen

  1. moldyapples

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Originally Posted by mojkarmaView Post


    The problem with Apple maps is that they show a dessert while there is a town.




    So the cake is a lie?

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