NYT: Google Maps headed to iOS by end of year

We don’t need to remind you of the many issues plaguing Apple’s new Maps app for iOS. Help is on the way, according to the New York Times’ Bits blog—it’s just not due anytime soon.

Quoting "people involved with the effort" who didn’t want their names printed, the Times says a Google Maps iOS app is, as rumored, in the works at Google. However, that app reportedly won’t be ready for "another couple months or so." Google is said to be shooting for a release "by the end of the year," which means iOS users could be stranded with erratic cartography and missing features for a while longer.

What’s taking Google so long? The Times explains:

One reason that it will take Google some time to build the iPhone app: it expected the app with Google’s maps to remain on the iPhone for some time, based on the contract between the two companies, and was caught off guard when Apple decided to build a new application to replace the old one.

Fair enough, I suppose… but Google must be all too pleased to watch the Apple faithful squirm. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on the iPhone 5 before I realized how bad the new Maps app is. Now, I’m seriously considering an upgrade to an Android device. If the next Nexus phone arrives before the Google Maps app for iOS, I might just bite the bullet and do it—and I can’t be the only one.

Comments closed
    • moog
    • 8 years ago

    You can always try the bing maps app on iOS6, it has a full feature set.

    • moog
    • 8 years ago

    Who is ‘we’, and if you don’t need to remind us, why did you?

    Apple maps is superior because it has something Google maps doesn’t, turn by turn navigation.

    For those who drive and need turn by turn navigation, awesome. For those who take walks in Stanley park to sell crack to kids, big problem.

    Google did not open their platform to Apple because they are open source software and they do not be evil, so Apple had to write their own.

    The #1 reason for the delay for Google’s map app is because it doesn’t generate much AD revenue as compared to something like youtube let’s say. Google rolled out their new youtube app BEFORE iOS 6 shipped because they need you to view and click their AIDS. AIDS. AIDS. AIDS.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 8 years ago

      how much misinformation can you fit into a single posts.

      1) apple, not google was responsible for google maps. they, like tom tom are at the mercy of apple and their closed ecosystem, their rules, their stupid temper tantrums.
      2) apple didn’t update their app because they didn’t want google to be providing a major function of their phone.
      3) apple’s decision to roll out imaps and remove gmaps was loud and petulant. no wonder google wasn’t holding their breath that apple would approve their next maps app
      4) google makes money from knowing where you are every second of the day, they don’t need ads per se. the bulk of their ad revenue comes from text based searches.
      5) the maps that google supply are correct, thus better than imaps which are incorrect. turn by turn be damned. if you can’t find your way to the apple store to pick up your new ipad, that’s a fail.

        • moog
        • 8 years ago

        [url<]http://allthingsd.com/20120926/apple-google-maps-talks-crashed-over-voice-guided-directions/[/url<] What information?

      • adisor19
      • 8 years ago

      What are you talking about ?! I’ve seen some bad trolls in my life, but you take it to a new level.

      Google is freaking out right now as they just lost over 100 million maps users using their advertising model in the old maps app.100 mission advertising clicking users vanished in less then a week. They were caught off guard and you can bet you ass they’re working day and night to submit a Google Maps app to Apple for approval.

      Google will submit the app before December comes and you can rest assured they will make sure EVERY blog and news outlet hears about it just to put pressure on Apple to approve the app in the Appstore.

      Adi

    • ratte
    • 8 years ago

    Since I’m not from the northamerican continent (the only one?) I’l tell you what it’s like in Sweden.
    The actual maps had some glaring errors, lost our second largest city (fixed), the Baltic Sea on the wrong side of the country, and a lot of other stuff missing or in the wrong place.

    But and it’s a BIG but, navigation seems to work just fine anyway so it’s not a huge problem.
    Satellite data though seems to be some years behind google. If you for instance use Runmeter/Walkmeter it can be irritatingly blurry or even cloudy in some places.

    I imagine it’s worse if you are in say, Tokyo with it’s lack of streetnames and don’t have transit data.

    • jjj
    • 8 years ago

    The real question is if Apple will allow it in the store.

      • tanker27
      • 8 years ago

      They will allow it as they already allow a lot of other Google apps to include but not limited to, Google Earth, Google Voice, and Google +.

      The question is when they do submit the app will Google have turn by turn navigation included and if so will Apple allow that!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        And don’t forget Gmail, which correctly puts deleted email in the trash instead of just leaving it float around without any tags in your Gmail account. Deleted email in Gmail isn’t really deleted with iOS’s stock Mail app.

          • tanker27
          • 8 years ago

          I have tried to figure out where the mail goes when deleted, there has to be some other “container” or something.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Google made one. It’s called Trash. iOS should put it there.

          • adisor19
          • 8 years ago

          It is if you configure your gmail account as an Exchange account.

          Adi

        • jjj
        • 8 years ago

        It’s not about if they allow Google apps but if they allow Google Maps since their rules don’t allow products similar to Apple products (now ofc one product is functional and one is not but in theory they are similar).

    • Beelzebubba9
    • 8 years ago

    I get the feeling Google is (rightfully) delaying a Maps app for iOS just to make Apple squirm a bit and suffering the bad publicity before swooping in to the rescue. By the time they do, I suspect most iOS users will have just gotten used to the new maps and moved on, however. I’m sure that’s fine by Google.

    That said, I upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS 6 last weekend and discovered that there’s actually a lot to like about the new Maps. I’m not saying it isn’t a big step backwards in some areas, but I think a lot of Android fanboys forget that Gmaps on iOS has been stuck in 2008 for a long time (since they’ve been using a good version of Gmaps for years) and wasn’t very good at all on iOS. In NYC Apple maps presents more and more useful information (subway stations aren’t just static images and the Yelp integration saves me opening up the stand alone app), and I’d long ago given up on Google’s subway directions in NYC because they never took into account service changes which is the whole point of finding alternate routes for a native of the city. For my uses Apple maps feels like a sidegrade that will only get better with time rather than some horrible mistake.

    Edit: That said, any rumors on a new Nexus phone?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Do it, Cyril. Get the Android device. But I’d expect a new Google-branded phone before too long; the GNexus is getting a little long in the tooth.

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      One of us, one of usssssssssssss.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      NO JOIN US IN THE DARK SIDE.

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 8 years ago

      With one exception, everyone I know who went to Android during the Eclair/Froyo days has since come back to the iOS fold and is much happier with their iPhone 4/4S/5. What worries me is that I’ll shell out a lot of money for a high end Android device only to find myself deeply annoyed by features I took for granted on iOS.

      So aside from the normal ‘it’s open!’ ‘you have CHOICE’ arguments (which I couldn’t care less about), what’s better about Android?

        • 00-Evan
        • 8 years ago

        While I’ve never used an iOS phone, so I can’t rightfully compare the two, I can tell you that android has gotten a hugely better since eclair/froyo, so your friends past experiences may not be relevant anymore.

        That and, at least from the hardware standpoint, you get way more for your money, but i’m guessing you’ve already heard that a million times.

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 8 years ago

          Does Android still restrict where you can install Apps to a specific partition and never the SD card? I know that was the case in 2.2, but I assume it’s been fixed by now.

          What killer apps do you use frequently? And how is Android’s music functionality? Has GooglePlay improved since it’s launch?

          As far as hardware goes, I think the iPhone 5 has a pretty hefty lead right now among high end devices (it’s thinner, lighter, has a better screen and is slightly to a lot faster in most every way than the SGS3/One X), but I’m curious to see if a 4.5″+ screen is something I’d enjoy once I got used to it.

          • adisor19
          • 8 years ago

          More for your money ? The iPhone 5 has the fastest CPU and GPU in any smartphone, the highest quality display, and arguably all in a small and slim package while maintaining good battery life.

          Please clarify the more for you money from the hardware standpoint part.

          Adi

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        ICS/JB is a far cry from FroYo/Eclair. That’s like saying “I didn’t like Windows 95 so I got a Mac, and I’ll never try Windows again”.

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 8 years ago

          Oh I’m sure, I’m just trying to get specifics.

          I’d hope the fact that I’m asking questions and didn’t just buy an iPhone 5 would indicate that I’m actually curious here and not just looking to argue. 🙂

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Fair enough. 🙂 Sorry for being argumentative.

            I could give two shits about openness, myself. I think people that hide behind that are putting too much emphasis on it. Here’s what I like about Android:

            I find the ICS UI attractive and easy to use. I also find the iOS way of just putting all your apps on the desktop kind of messy. With both Android and iOS you have to manually maintain where your apps go or whatnot, but with Android you also get widgets which are pretty cool. Live-updating icons (or monolithic panels like what HTC includes with Sense) with weather, news headlines, etc give you at least some information without opening an app – and they will automatically move themselves around (hallelujah) with Jelly Bean. With Android, all apps go in a “drawer” that’s always just one finger-press away if you need something. Some folks find it confusing, I find it fairly powerful.

            Alternative keyboard options. The iOS keyboard is “fine”, until you use an alternative slide-your-finger type like Swype or Touchpal (both of which are free, btw).

            There’s a dizzying array of devices available for each carrier. That can be kind of tough to navigate. But you get your choice in how big of a device you want and what features you want. If you want something iPhone-sized, there’s something iPhone sized on your carrier, and if you want bigger there are bigger devices. Samsung’s high-end stuff all has higher resolutions and similar DPI to Apple’s phones – 1280×720 on a 4.5″ screen works out to be 325-ish DPI and you can see more. HTC’s phones are sexy in an aluminum kind of way. LG’s stuff is, by and large, trash (so hey if you want a phone that crashes a lot because the only people that call you are those you want to avoid, you can get one).

            Google Now is very useful. Do a location search and your phone will figure out what traffic is like and map out a route from your current location without you asking it to, so you can just pull down teh notification bar and tap. Google’s maps are getting better while iOS’s are getting worse.

            iOS’s new notification panels are all based on Android features that have existed since 2.1, at least. A pull-down menu with dismissal options. Yay. In Jelly Bean they’ve been expanded so you can see more of an email, for example, or read a text message without going to the messaging app. JB’s improvements are useful on a tablet, but I think they’d be less useful on a phone with the smaller screen.

            iOS has some nice technical advantages, like low-latency audio that has turned the iPhone and iPod into a portable DAW/recording box/guitar effects unit/musical instrument. That’s neat. Low-latency audio is now part of JB but nothing takes advantage of it yet. I’m hopeful for the future of music on Android. In that regard, they’re playing catch-up.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 8 years ago

            Awesome post, thanks a ton!

            The lack of dynamically updated icons in iOS always struck me as stupid and easily fixed. But alas.

            Edit: I do a lot of the app management in iOS using spotlight, which is how I handle it on the Mac as well. It’s easier to swipe left, tap in a character or two then launch the app/document/whatever rather than find it among the 40 or so I have installed. I don’t need that duplicated at all in Android, but along with AirPlay, Spotlight is another feature of iOS that doesn’t get enough credit.

            I should say that at this point (and this has been true for a while), it seems that the three major mobile OSs are all pretty good and it really comes down to how you prefer to do certain tasks and what matters more.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Once I saw it for the first time (on a crappy Optimus V, no less) I was like “hey why doesn’t Apple do this? This is genius!”

            Also, a great deal of those have a user-defined timer to set how often they refresh. Refreshing more requires more data and therefore uses more battery, which may be bad. Depends on how long you want your phone to last and how up-to-the-minute you want info. The weather widget I use (Beautiful Widgets) has an option to refresh on wake, so when I wake up my phone it goes and updates. That seemed like the most reasonable option.

    • colinstu12
    • 8 years ago

    “off guard” … really?

    Sounds more like an excuse to make Apple fans suffer, that apple isn’t always right, that google has some awesome tools up its sleeve, apple doesn’t need to be a master at everything, and why not just switch to a phone that has google maps built in and has a google-owned OS?

    Google will release maps for iOS 6 when they’ve felt the apple userbase has understood their lesson (which apparently will take one quarter).

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Don’t forget who’s really causing the pain – Apple removed the Maps app from iOS6. Not Google.

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        I feel there were some legitimate reasons for that, though. Google was keeping vector maps to Android and it’s desktop offerings, while giving Apple the more data-intensive (and slower-loading) bitmap maps. In addition, Google was not interested in giving Apple turn-by-turn navigation, which, for free, is a pretty damn killer application in Android’s favor. Nobody could expect Apple to sit on their hands and let Android just take ’em to town on that feature.

        In my mind, Google was pretty silly on both fronts — they should’ve made Google Maps for iOS a goddamn killer experience — complete with vector maps [i<]and[/i<] turn-by-turn navigation, and Google ought to have had it ready on day 1 of iOS 6. I honestly don't imagine that Android has gained marketshare because of these two features, and Google still gets to reap the advertising dollars off of iOS users. Then, it would be in Apple's court to approve the app. If they delayed, then it would be indisputable that Apple, and solely Apple, was deliberately forcing it's users to use Apple Maps (a sub-par maps application as of now). If they approved it lickety split, then [i<]nobody would use Apple Maps[/i<], rendering it to be behind Google Maps for [i<]years[/i<] (like Bing). Bing Maps aren't bad, but they're not as good as Google Maps. If Google had an app ready to go... as soon as Apple approved it people would download, install, and use it -- keeping valuable data-gathering away from Apple Maps and in Google Maps. It'd take Apple eons to match Google Maps, unless they literally mirrored Google's strategy of hiring truckloads of people and setting foot to map the Earth, which would be costly on their part to reinvent the wheel, and which would [i<]still[/i<] lack the benefit of first-mover advantage. That'd be a huge win for Google. But they decided to be huge dicks about it, and Apple Maps will probably be reasonably competitive by the time the new Google Maps app for iOS arrives.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          My understanding is that Google never made the Maps app, but only provided the map data, which is available over some sort of API that doesn’t include turn-by-turn. Aren’t the maps on the Google Maps website also bitmaps? If it’s just feeding that sort of data to iOS then I don’t see anything malicious.

          That’s probably also why the old Maps.app isn’t on the store – if it was made by Google it’d be trivial to get it polished up for iOS6 and on the iOS app store.

            • adisor19
            • 8 years ago

            Indeed. Google kept turn by turn nav as their own unless Apple let them code the app AND include Latitude. Apple refused and Google was caught with their pants down and no app ready to submit in the app store. They just lost 100 million users in the span of a few days. This is a major loss of revenue no matter how you look at it.

            While they may be enjoying the Apple bashing, they certainly are working day and night to have a Google made Maps app ready.

            Adi

    • Mentawl
    • 8 years ago

    Quite thankful I didn’t upgrade my 4S! Silly Apple.

    • tanker27
    • 8 years ago

    Meh.

    I call BS on Google being caught off-guard, they knew.

    And why so long? They already have a Google Earth App which is mostly maps stitched together anyways? /shrug

      • theadder
      • 8 years ago

      If nothing else, the betas of iOS 6 have been available for some time. I’m not sure at what point the Maps app was altered, but it’s been known publicly for a fair amount of time that this was coming.

      I can see why Google isn’t keen to help make up for Apple’s poor performance in this area, but they must have known for a fairly large amount of time that this was coming.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      There could be that tiny chance that Google is quietly supporting it’s fellow Android-ites by letting Apple shoot themselves in the foot. They want a walled garden? Let them have it.

        • willmore
        • 8 years ago

        I like your cynacism!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        I happen to share that feeling, myself. My wife has an iPhone, and she thinks this is hilarious for whatever reason. She’s got Navfree on her phone, though. I mean, seriously, there are alternatives already without Gmaps.

        • blastdoor
        • 8 years ago

        Google needs to be on iOS devices. Google makes money off of advertising, and iOS users are much more desirable targets of advertising than Android users. Android appeals to cheapskates with no taste who would rather spend time figuring out how to avoid paying for something than spend money in order to save time. What advertiser would find that audience appealing?

          • Flying Fox
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]Android appeals to cheapskates with no taste...[/quote<] Nice over-generalization painting every Android user with a very bad board brush.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          I dunno, man. HTC makes some great-looking devices without going with the black rectangle route. The One phones look fantastic. The previous generation of devices are also very dapper. I’m biased, though – I say that as a Sensation 4G owner.

          • BiffStroganoffsky
          • 8 years ago

          translation: Apple appeals to lazy snobs who believe that all advertising is factual so companies should spend their advertising dollars on that buying segment to optimize returns.

        • adisor19
        • 8 years ago

        No. Corporations like Google don’t give a damn about feelings. They care about the bottom line. 100 million less users for their maps app is a huge loss in revenue.

        Adi

          • lilbuddhaman
          • 8 years ago

          X = the number of users who decide to buy an android phone instead of an iphone
          Y = the number of users with an iphone who would download google maps
          Z = the number of google apps android owners would download and use

          Z = X * ?
          X = ?
          Y = ?

          Z > Y or Y > Z ?

      • tanker27
      • 8 years ago

      As I understand it when reading about the issue, Google hired contractors to make Google Maps and then after it was made kept them on as ‘contractors’ to do tweaks and break-fix. Now That says a lot to a developer when a parent company doesnt want to hire you on but keep you at contractor status. (I should know I have been there before) Now Apple is aggressively pursuing those people to make its own maps. My guess is that Apple will dig into its funds to get them and make them Apple employees.

      This may be an overstatement or conjecture on my part but from all the articles on the subject its a best guess at what has and is happening.

      I have no doubt that Apple Maps will get better. What I’m scratching my head at is that the “data” Apple uses is from TomTom, why no mention of them in the news. Is it because they only released data and API to Apple?

      • blastdoor
      • 8 years ago

      Meh^2. I call BS on your BS.

      Google was totally caught off guard, and that was the point. Despite the bad press, Apple needs people to use the maps app in order for it to improve, and that wouldn’t have happened if people could easily switch to google’s app.

      Apple is taking some short term pain here in order to make a long run gain. It’s somewhat analogous (though not perfectly so) to the short term hit they took on spurning adobe flash. It’s the kind of thing that only Apple can do. Apple has built up a lot of trust with users. Apple is burning some of that trust here as a strategic investment in the future. It’s not the kind of thing Apple can make a habit of doing, though. Apple will need to work hard to make it up to users.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        From the reports, they needed to do some internal testing and a few $$’s spent on up to date satellite data, rather than feedback from end users.

        Swedish user Ratte (post is in this thread), “Baltic Sea on the wrong side of the country.” ’nuff said.

    • theadder
    • 8 years ago

    I did the iOS 6 upgrade with my iPhone 4S without considering much the effects on the Maps app. It hasn’t proven much of a problem for me; my area in Oregon seems to be pretty well mapped.

    I’m interested in how often this is true. One of the big problems is that without another iOS device, it is hard to check in advance what the coverage is like. I haven’t had any problems so far. Anecdotally, other friends have also been OK in other areas. I wonder how widespread satisfied iOS 6 Maps users are.

    If you were considering the iPhone 5 seriously, I’d not let the Maps app put you off too much. It is probably worth asking someone about coverage in your area before giving up on the iPhone; it may well be fine.

      • Scrotos
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. I haven’t really noticed too much to be angsty about with the new app. I guess lots of people are having problems or making noise about it but the traffic seems a bit more useful.

      I typically use it for a quick check of morning and afternoon traffic. Other than that… yeah, I’m not continually needing turn-by-turn directions to places.

      • EtherealN
      • 8 years ago

      “Coverage in your area” is a wee bit of a problem for someone like Cyril that is liable to have use for reliable mapping almost anywhere in the world, due to traveling for events etcetera.

      Also, regarding “considering the iPhone 5 seriously”, what if he’s “seriosuly” considering more than just the iPhone5? Like the mentioned Nexus line. He, as someone that has reason to travel the planet, I expect with often tight schedules (I’ve only done E3’s and such, but I expect things are similar with the tech-side), can easily find good mapping to be a lifesaver. If you have one area you expect to use something in, that’s a completely different usage scenario.

      Think of it like this: for some people, bad GPS function on a phone, even a smartphone, is of zero consequence. They never use it, so who cares if it’s broken, right? For them, it would indeed be silly to judge a phone by it’s GPS. But the guy that is frequently on a tight schedule for things in foreign cities – on foreign continents even – this is something that could theoretically make or break an important meeting, make you miss your flight (lol at Dublin airports! 😀 ) etcetera etcetera. Either of those happening just once can cause more damage than the whole phone’s value… (Or, if you’re in business, a whole stack of them. 😛 ) I mean, it’s not only about things not being there – of even greater potential damage is things that are there – but that are placed wrong by the iOS maps service.

      What really suprises me in this thing is that whatever I feel about Apple and their kit (RDF, locked ecosystem, litigious bastards etcetera etcetera), it is _extremely_ unlike them to release something that is so lacking in polish. If I’d seen this in an iOS6 beta and known release is coming in a month (or couple months), I’d probably have thought “no way this’ll make it, they’ll sit tight on Google until they can rollout an update” or something like that. It’s just so not Apple to let something like this slip.

      • blastdoor
      • 8 years ago

      That’s been my experience so far, too.

      I used the new Maps app “for real” on a business trip this week, and it worked fine. I can tell that it’s not as data-packed yet as Google’s maps, but it sounds like that will change in time with more use.

      As I see it, the new maps app is great for everyone — it gives apple haters something to scream about, it gives google some short run positive press, and it helps apple beat google in the long run. And of course “the media” benefits from the controversy and subsequent news cycle of “apple doomed!” followed a few months later by “who were those morons saying apple was doomed? certainly wasn’t me….”

      • brucethemoose
      • 8 years ago

      If you just use (U.S.) street directions and enjoy the new turn by turn, the new app is actually pretty nice.

      However, if you’re like me, and rely on maps for foot travel/public transit/finding specific places and businesses, the maps app is unacceptable.

      Yes there are alternative maps apps, and there’s the google web app, but I still haven’t found a good replacement.

        • tay
        • 8 years ago

        Agreed. In my experience, POI (points of interest) is the big culprit in that it is often wrong. You mention that in your post along with missing public transit directions.
        For example, for me POI’s in Boston,MA are fine and accurate but ones 15 miles north of the city in Salem,MA are not. Searching by addresses works just fine in both places.

        In conclusion, I think it’s a mistake to hold off on an upgrade. What you lose in Google Maps is more than made up by the rest of the phone being amazing.

          • brucethemoose
          • 8 years ago

          I do need an upgrade, but personally, I’ll probably wait till November-December. The new lifeproof cases should be out by then, google maps or a good alternative will exist, the iPhone 5 will be closer to an untethered jailbreak, we’ll see whats on the horizon for android, and I’ll have an excuse to buy one 🙂

          But right now, my much used maps app and my jailbreak are simply too much to give up.

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