iOS finally gets official Google Maps app

In case you missed it last night, Google’s Maps app for iOS was released last night to a collective sigh of relief from iPhone users. You can grab it here on the iTunes Store—or, you know, straight from your device.

The app offers quite a few functional and aesthetic improvements over the old, Google-powered Maps app that came with iOS 5. Among those: turn-by-turn navigation, more straightforward switching between directions and search, the ability to tilt and rotate the map, and a way to switch quickly between lists of directions and the map view. (Details simply slide up from the bottom of the screen, and you can swipe from side to side to view alternate directions.) Street View is available, too. You can even use the built-in gyroscope to look around Street View scenes.

The app’s new features and actually correct cartography should feel like a breath of fresh air. Somehow, though, I feel a little underwhelmed. There’s something oddly clunky about the interface, and it’s just not very fast. Heck, panning around the basic map view feels downright choppy compared to the Apple app. I guess I must simply have Stockholm syndrome.

So what about all those other iOS apps that rely on the Apple service to pull up mapping data? Well, along with the official Google Maps app for iOS, Google says it’s released a development toolkit and a "URL scheme" so that developers can "use Google Maps when building their beautiful and innovative apps." I wonder how many app developers will switch. If Google has its way, though, iOS users may be able to avoid Apple Maps altogether unless they decide to launch it (or they use Siri). That’s especially good news for Australians.

Comments closed
    • PainIs4ThaWeak1
    • 7 years ago

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA ……:inhale: ….. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ….. :wipesbrow:

    … Phew, thats funny.

    (And to think I was just telling myself the other day just how funny it would be if Apple ditched their map app in favor of Google’s.)

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    If I were Apple I would freeze out Google from APIs and use them to provide exclusive experience/performance advantages for Apples apps. It’s only fair.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      Well, they did. And a few Apple customers nearly died from that unique experience. Fanboi trolls are fun to play with, but when you have to pick up the bodies, sh*t gets real.

    • Forge
    • 7 years ago

    And if you’re on an iPad, we don’t care if you’re OK with running the iPhone app, it’s NOT AVAILABLE FOR YOUR DEVICE. You can wait more, and we’ll get a native app out at some later point.

    Never has an electronic device of mine made me feel more like a second class citizen than my first gen iPad. I got to have a good device during the early days, with no good apps, and now that there are decent apps to be had, I have an unsupported, ancient, decrepit device that no one cares about, and no one supports.

    That’s some awesome lifecycle planning, Steve.

      • JrdBeau
      • 7 years ago

      I feel your pain. Early adopters never stop paying.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      Calm down. An iPad version is on its way.

      I’m guessing that the original iPad will be supported. It has a more powerful CPU than the 3GS.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        then where’s my ios6?

    • sammied54413
    • 7 years ago
    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    Zoomed on on Manhattan with Traffic and Transit turned on. No choppiness. Very smooth/fast on an iPhone 5.

    • Jakubgt
    • 7 years ago

    Seeing as I am replacing several Apple IOS applications with a third party apps seems to give me a good reason to try a different OS. I was thinking about making the jump to Android, but I’m not too sure if that’s the right path to go.

      • MrJP
      • 7 years ago

      Well, you’d have had all these “new” maps features over a year ago if you’d been on Android already.

    • tanker27
    • 7 years ago

    MEH

    Coincidentally I got a ticket in Daly city by one of those red light cameras. Best 600 bucks I ever spent……

      • brute
      • 7 years ago

      best 600 bucks i ever spent: never

        • tanker27
        • 7 years ago

        Someone sarcasm meter isn’t functioning…….

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    Despite much of Steve Jobs Claims and goals as far as making his products more stable and more intuitive that the competition I have developed on an high end mac pro tower and own a ipad 3. I don’t find their interface to be better than any of the competition, actually its dramatically more inferior in my opinion, additionally I also find its not more stable than my android phone and windows computer. I’ve caused hard crashes and app crashes and hangs on OSx and I have serious issues with my ipad regularly that require a reboot to resolve or features that flat out don’t work.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    According to Piper Jaffray, Apple Maps is not stopping a majority of US smartphone shoppers for planning to buy the iPhone 5.

    [url<]http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/13/more-than-half-of-us-smartphone-shoppers-plan-to-buy-apples-iphone-5[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Reality rarely separates people from what they think they want. See the AMD slow-mo video article’s comments for proof.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] According to Piper Jaffray, consumers are stupid. why this is considered noteworthy is unexplained. [/quote<] ftfy.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        Or, in this case, that Apple Maps works well enough that it isn’t enough to dissuade users away from an otherwise excellent smartphone.

        And lets face it – Bing and Nokia maps share a lot of the same weaknesses. But since they’re nor made by Apple people don’t go crazy with flamewars over those shortcomings.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          I wasn’t specifically commenting on apple maps, my point was that generally people are dumb.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Now I understand your posting behavior.

    • windwalker
    • 7 years ago

    Duh!
    Anyone that has a clue about mapping could have told you the Apple Maps application is a miracle of speed and usability, in a completely different league compared to anything available before.

    But that doesn’t draw so many clicks so there’s a big incentive to ignore the application and focus just on the shortcomings of the data.

    Google Maps has better data because Google has experience with data.
    Apple Maps is a better application because Apple has experience building great applications.

    The race is on and we win either way.

      • Coyote_ar
      • 7 years ago

      So basically when making a navigation app, Apple focused on the way it looks. Thats so cool, you get lost, but you do it style. Fuck yeah.

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        The issue was that Google wanted to charge Apple a lot more money for their data and wouldn’t license their turn-by-turn APIs to keep that feature exclusive to their platform, which is why Apple had to move to an inferior set of data and APIs.

        Google certainly made the right decisions for their business, but it’s erroneous to think that Apple moved away from Google Maps for ‘style’ reasons.

          • nico1982
          • 7 years ago

          It is a straw man argument. Nobody is thinking that Apple moved away from Google Maps for ‘style’ reasons.
          Whichever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that Apple opted to shove down their customers’ throats a navigation app that was clearly inferior on the most important aspect: travel planning. I wonder what they were thinking whey they choose to develop the silly 3D buildings feature – an useless eye candy – rather than investing a small fraction of their profit to provide a better service to their customers.

            • deathBOB
            • 7 years ago

            3D buildings are useful for figuring out your destination when you don’t know what it looks like. Kind of like Google’s Street View.

            • nico1982
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t think you can honestly compare a 3D model with a washed out low res texture slapped on it observed from the 10th store to a panoramic high res foto taken from almost eye level.
            I use Google Maps regularly to plan my motorcycle trips. Street view is a nice asset to check the route and familiarize with it in advance (with a grain of salt). 3D buildings are basically useless countryside, nowhere near as accurate and a PITA to navigate in urban area.
            Let’s not touch the fact that they cover only a fraction of the most famous landmarks while there are good chance you can find the up to date picture of your backyard in Street View 😛

            • windwalker
            • 7 years ago

            Well, that’s the point.
            The app is hugely superior, but the data quality is inconsistent.

            It’s funny to see people who never have and never would buy an Apple product switch at the drop of a hat from hate and mockery of Apple users to bleeding heart concern for the way Apple “opresses” them.

          • Namarrgon
          • 7 years ago

          I doubt that any money Google wanted would come close to what Apple has spent replacing them.

          The NYT reported that the main sticking point in negotiations was branding. Google wanted their name and/or logo to be more prominently featured in the Maps app, in exchange for the turn-by-turn data. Apple refused, and the rest we know.

        • windwalker
        • 7 years ago

        So basically you can’t read or have the attention span of a dead mollusk.

      • Helmore
      • 7 years ago

      Huh? I consider Apple Maps on my iPad 3 to be incredibly slow. I don’t know why but it usually takes ages for the actual map to show up, especially if you start zooming and panning. The previous Google Maps app was loads faster than that. I haven’t tried this new Google Maps app though, it’s currently only optimized for the iPhone and I don’t have an iPhone.

        • nico1982
        • 7 years ago

        It’s the iPad 3. It has 4 times the pixel but same CPU (dual core Cortex-A9 class) as the iPad 2. Even if it has a beefier GPU, some graphical rendering task, especially background ones, are CPU bound. We had to take extra steps to bring back the performance of some of our apps to an acceptable level, but still lagging behind the iPad 2. The iPad 4 CPU is a welcomed upgrade.

        • windwalker
        • 7 years ago

        The new Maps app requires a bit more data before it can display a map view, so if you’re trying to look at an area that isn’t cached it will need a faster WiFi connection.
        It’s because vector data is larger than the tiles for a single zoom level but smaller than the tiles for all zoom levels.

        But who are we kidding?
        You’re just trolling because everyone who actually owns an iPad knows they can install iPhone apps and use them just fine.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Get Lost in Style! ™

        • windwalker
        • 7 years ago

        Get lost however you want, but do get lost!

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    Apple Maps: directing you to the wrong location without any choppiness or clunkiness!

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      No, no:

      “Apple Maps: smoothly and elegantly directing you to the wrong location – it’s insanely great!”

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        insane[s<]ly great[/s<]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Apple Maps: it knows where you really want to go better than you do!

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      Apple Maps: because anything with “Apple” in the title is instantly better!

      [sub<]Right?[/sub<]

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        OMG FONT SIZE CHANGES1!!!!!! I WANT

          • superjawes
          • 7 years ago

          SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

          [spoiler<]It's actually the "sub" tag[/spoiler<]

      • allreadydead
      • 7 years ago

      Wrong way ? Which wrong way are you talking about ? I’m quite sure you didnt mean the awesome road full of new opportunities that Apple Maps directed you.

      You know, Apple knows better than you. You probably wanted to be another location but Apple worked its magic and brought you to the most amazing, spectular place in the middle of nowhere. Where you REALLY you NEED to be.

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      Bullsh1t. You’re comparing a service that Google spent millions of dollars every yr for the last 7 years to a service that’s not even a year old. Apple’s service has gotten way better way faster.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    IE SUCKS!!!!

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]There's something oddly clunky about the interface, and it's just not very fast. Heck, panning around the basic map view feels downright choppy compared to the Apple app.[/quote<] I thought it might be just my aging iPhone 4 that it feels clunky and choppy on thanks for confirming it is an issue with the app and not the phone getting bogged down trying to render. It also does not seem to allow the phone to sleep in between routing directions like the Apple map app can do. Edit: (In fact the "feel and performance" of the app reminds me a lot of the old HTML5 facebook app which suffered the same issues until a true native app was released.)

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 7 years ago

    SECOND time’s the charm.

    • DancinJack
    • 7 years ago

    Looks nicer than the version on my Nexus. :/

    Hope they get the “choppy” issues figured out.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      This looks pretty much exactly like the version on my Galaxy Nexus, except on Android the Maps app uses gray menu bars with transparency effects.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, looks remarkably similar to the version on my One S running Cyanogenmod 10.

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