After months of rumors following the announcement and subsequent botched roll out of Apple’s own mapping application, Google has released a stand alone Google Maps application for iOS 6 with substantial updates over the previously Google-powered but debranded Maps application previously shipped by Apple since the launch of the iPhone.
The new Google Maps for iOS features the following additions from the previous built-in version:
- Free turn-by-turn equal to the Android version
- Mass transit directions
- Street View integration
- 3D viewing capability
The release of Google Maps on Apple’s iOS after being pushed aside this year follows a tumultous 6 months for the company whereby the announcement of Apple’s own Maps application unrealistically raised expectations following a very slickly produced preview during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. However, once the updated iOS 6 rolled out with Apple Maps, the reaction to its mapping capabilities was swift and immediately negative, enough to force Apple to make the uncharacteristic step of issuing a public apology and forcing out the two key executives in Scott Forstall and Richard Williamson over the debacle.
While the return of Google Maps is being met with jubilation, the app does not immediately replace Apple Maps, as the operating system will not allow the app to be set as the default mapping application, with Apple Maps being integrated at the system level and forcing many users to make compromises in usage, though those compromises are being seen as tolerable compared to the typical user complaints for Apple Maps during daily use. The app is available now.