Google has begun the process of testing Google Maps with outside testers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said that the search giant has distributed its home-grown app to "individuals outside the company" as it puts the finishing touches on the app for submission to Apple's App Store.
The story comes from unnamed a person "with direct knowledge of the matter," and follows a report from The Guardian UK earlier in November along the same lines. That report added, however, that Google execs were doubting the app would get approved for the App Store because Apple didn't want a superior product to its own Apple Maps app.
The Journal's piece expresses no such sentiment, and instead mentions the fact that Google has had other apps recently approved, including its own YouTube app. Apple removed the YouTube app that had shipped with every iPhone until then when it released iOS 6 and iPhone 5 in September.
Google's version of Google Maps for iOS will have turn-by-turn directions, a feature that Apple's version did not have. This was reportedly due to disagreements between Apple and Google, as each had its own demands and priorities for the Maps app on iOS. To that end, the report also noted that Google's Maps app will have ads and other revenue-generating features built into it.
A Google spokesperson told The Journal, "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."
Other tidbits from the article include the news that Senior Vice President Eddy Cue has been working hands-on with the Maps team to improve the service and correct mistakes. Mr. Cue took over the Apple Maps product after Scott Forstall was ousted as head of iOS in October.