Google is reportedly in the final stages of testing a new Maps application for the iPhone, with a App Store submission in the not so distant future. The fallout over the change from Google powered to Apple powered Maps in iOS 6 was significant enough that Apple issued a public apology, pledging to do better and offering alternatives to their mapping solution. One of those alternatives was not Google Maps, which has yet to be submitted to the App Store. According to a Google representative, Google Maps is “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 application from Google will benefit from their wealth of accurate map data and experience developing mapping applications. Recent history has shown us that Google designed apps for iOS have generally been a mixed bag, with some good and some incredibly poor.
No app in recent history, be it from Google or any developer, will be under the magnifying glass more than Google’s new Maps application for iOS. First are questions of App Store approval and whether there will be any hiccups in that process. Most expected that Maps for iOS would have a decided advantage in that it offers turn-by-turn navigation, something not expected to be included with Google’s Maps. Navigation is now said to be part of this Google Maps release.
When I first reviewed Maps for iOS, I found it be a great application, tightly integrated into other iOS features like Siri. Navigation was speedy and local directions were for the most part, spot on. Negative feedback from customers who were experience real issues have dulled my enthusiasm for Maps. In most cases when you need a map, you’re not sure of where you are going. That’s not exactly the moment when you want to take a leap of faith on Apple’s mapping data. Google on the other hand has been spot on and their Navigation for Android is fantastic. If they are able to deliver that very same experience and rock solid maps data to iOS, it would glorious.