Google Maps for iOS Is Being Tested

| News

Google MapsGoogle 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.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

7 Comments Leave Your Own

mrmwebmax

+

I think Apple is in a real bind here. If they reject the app, they’ll take a PR hit saying that the company is denying iOS users a superior map and end-user experience. If they accept the app and it is noticeable better than Apple’s own (which would most likely be the case), they risk not only having negative light shed on their own Map app, but run the risk of it being abandoned completely in favor of Google’s.

Releasing the map app when they did was a serious mistake. Now it’s hard to say what will save face more regarding the Google Maps app: rejecting or accepting it. It seems like a no-win scenario any way you look at it.

mhikl

Apple sets the protocol. If Google maps doesn’t track, accept it. If it collects personal info, don’t.
+, why was it a mistake to release its map app? Some analysts believe it was a necessary move. It gets fair praise by some analysts; from journalists, not so much. There’s a difference.

Terrin

I don’t think Apple has a problem at all. First, like mhikl states, Apple sets the protocol. Apple doesn’t allow third party apps to gather user information. If Google complies, accept the App. Second, for most people Apple’s New Map App is a big improvement over the previous one. It is much faster, the graphics are beautiful, and it has turn - by - turn. I bought a Map App because I thought the previous one so under whelming. I now use the new app strictly. Third, by Apple ditching Google’s data and providing desired features, it forces Google to add the features it wasn’t previously willing to do. Moreover, Apple still gets to withhold the user data Google previous wanted in exchange for providing those features. Finally, people should be more excited about Nokia’s Map app coming to iOS as Nokia has a better product than Google.

Terrin

PS

People also tend to use the default option. So most people are likely to stick with Apple’s Map anyway, which will be more tightly integrated with the OS.

jbruni

I actually like Apple’s maps app. I’ve never had it fail to find something for me.

Google’s app would frequently not find the correct location, fail to load tiles, or try to have me turn on nonexistent off-ramps.

I suspect the limitations on Apple’s map is based on your location. In Phoenix, everything seems to work probably because we always look for things based on address rather than arbitrary building name.

wab95

I tend to agree with mhikl and Terrin.

My Barnes is,while there has been valid criticism of the Maps app, it’s limitations have been exaggerated by anecdote rather than being assessed for the population of users.

As far as my personal experience with Maps is concerned, not only has the app preformed without a hitch in locales across Europe and the Uk, but eastern US cities as well as the alley ways of Dhaka slums (which beats the city maps).

wab95

I wish we could edit our posts. That ‘my Barnes’ was supposed to be ‘my sense’.

Log-in to comment