Google launches Maps for iOS, says developers can use its SDK to bypass Apple Maps

Daniel Bader

December 12, 2012 11:44pm

Google has released its long-awaited native maps app for iOS. The app brings turn-by-turn navigation and transit directions to long-suffering iOS 6 users, many of whom have sworn off Apple’s buggy and inaccurate mapping solution in favour of inferior third-party alternatives.

Nokia recently released a HTML5-powered Maps app for iOS called Here, but Google’s version is slicker and faster, with pixel-perfect vector graphics and access to Street View. Google provides accurate traffic information in a number of countries, including all major Canadian cities, and the turn-by-turn navigation will be familiar to anyone who has used an Android device.

While the app isn’t available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users will find that Maps provides comprehensive local search, accurate directions, and it even plugs into Apple Maps as a transit direction output if you want to continue using the first-party app in some instances.

Google Maps for iPhone adopts the flat, minimal look it’s taken with recent iOS apps like Gmail, YouTube and Currents. They’ve also released a SDK for developers to add native Google Maps hooks into their current applications. For example a situation that asks whether you’d like to open directions in a specific app could point to Google instead of Apple. The same hooks have been added for Chrome in the Gmail for iOS app, and it works quite well.

Google has been very shrewd about the release of this app; they don’t want to overshadow the Android version, which is arguably more feature-filled and performs better, but they also want to appeal to the many millions of frustrated and disenchanted Apple users who have no intention of switching over to the other side.

If you’re an iPhone user running iOS 6, give Google Maps for iPhone a try.

Source: Google

  • REDRUM

    RIP RIM?

    • Amadeus

      Any intelligent to say???

    • Charles

      Just ignore the trolls. If they get a responce then it will only encourage them further.

  • Drew

    Why accomodate for apple users? it was their stupid decision to drop google maps. and the end users decision to buy apple and not android.

    • Rio

      Stop talking so much s**t unless you know whats going on seriously. Google maps was slacking HARD on iOS prior to the removal. The removal of google maps from iOS was a wake up call for google and forced them to bring this app out.

      This new google maps released is 1000 times better than apple maps yes but it is also 10 000 times better than the previous google maps on iOS. Go look up iOS maps prior to iOS 6 and see how GREAT google maps was.

    • Rio

      I love Google maps but it takes 2 to tango. I wanted turn by turn navigation and prior to iOS 6 Google refused to introduce turn by turn directions to the iPhone hence apple kicked them out. Now the user benefits by having 2 apps for turn by turn :)

    • backatya

      @Rio Talk smack all you want about google not serving the big A – but tell me, what has yapple done for android lately? Ever?

    • Rio

      backatya, what are you even talking about?

      Did you not understand the point I was trying to make? Do you really think google is doing this for apple? Google is doing this to get back the huge market they lost with the removal of them from the iPhone. And whos fault was that?

      Everyone is saying apple made a bad decision but those are the people that did not use google maps on the iPhone prior to ios6. It was horrible with not a single feature other than searches. I am not even dissing the google maps, I am saying they did a horrible job on the initial iPhone maps.

      iOS Maps (Google) prior to removal:
      No turn by turn,
      Simple, bare minimum interface
      Directions required you to hit the next button

      Apple Maps
      Turn by turn directions
      Excellent interface with voice guidance
      3D fly over

      New Google Maps
      Turn by turn directions
      Excellent interface with voice guidance
      Satellite view
      Much more accurate results than Apple maps.

      LET ME BREAK THIS DOWN SO EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS.

      OLD GOOD MAPS = HORRIBLE
      APPLE MAPS = OK
      NEW GOOLGE MAPS = AWESOME.

    • Tyrone

      Agreed. Tim Cook had to be under the influence when he made that decision. Heck even iOS users like Google Maps more than the Apple Maps not bashing you users. But everybody knows its better than anything out right now.

    • 7-Down

      I like how Google shows you how long it takes to download an app on iOS. Well played, Google, well played.

    • Keith

      I agree, Apple didn’t like Google raising the prices on their mapping data so they switched away from Google. So Google develops their own app, opens the API’s and now Apple doesn’t have to pay Google a cent.

    • TP

      @Rio

      Maps prior to iOS6 also offered Satelite View and much more accurate search results than the current Apple Maps.
      I understand that it did not offer turn-by-turn navigation, but Apple Maps’s navigation is useless anyway when you know it may lead you to somewhere else.
      Not a troll, I use both Android and iOS.

    • Zeeb

      Google is a business first and they play by the mantra “don’t be evil”. Why not give their maps to the millions of users using iPhone? It’s a smart business decision on Google’s part. They’re not petty in this regard, that’s why I think they’re a great company and much better than sue-happy Apple.

    • Alex

      Because fack you, that’s why.

    • Legendary

      @Rio

      Google maps never existed on iOS. All that there was was Apple Maps powered by Google Maps.

      Apple asked for a couple extra features from Google beyond what they were offering for free, and Google said that they’d give it to them if Apple included Latitude.

      Apple said no, and decided to make their own maps instead by licensing data from TomTom.

      In response to that, Google decided to make Google Maps for iOS.

      This is the FIRST Google Maps app on iOS, although it is not the first to use Google Maps data.

  • eshizzi

    Google comes to Apples rescue! Next time… Just go Android!

    • Chris

      If anything… this helps sell more iPhones because the people that didn’t like the maps now have the old maps back.

  • anona

    Yay, welcome back proper directions.

  • Matt

    Well, there goes Samsung’s advertising strategy…

  • gjac0m

    No iPad support…

  • Whoo Daat

    Is Google retarded or what? why would they release the maps to Apple.. eventually Apple will fix their maps and ban Google maps again! Google should have kept the maps for their other partners like Samsung.. but it seems they dnt care

    • anona

      Even if Apple “fixes” their maps and blocks google maps, apple users would have tasted google maps again and switch over to android to get it. (That, and they are probably making money somewhere on it).

    • Allyouranusarebelongtous

      Google is well in excess of a decade (or more) of data. Apple, even with their user base, is so far behind google maps it’s literally not funny…at all. Not even a little.

      Apple miscalculated in spectacular fashion, even with all those users of apples, they have a long long way to go to make it right. By the same token, googles are continually improved too. Catching up to google, is initself a moving target.

  • Lakh Jhajj

    Google knows there is money and customers in iOS and that too in millions!!!! If it was not true then Google would be releasing Apps on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 too!!!

    • lukeiphone

      fix your name plz

  • Crunk

    I’ve been playing around with it for a few minutes, and all I can say is, ouch… better luck next version, Google.

    The quality of your maps and routing is great but the user interface for this version of Google Maps is weak sauce.

    • Mr Mystery

      K stick your Apple garbage then, bye!

  • Crunk

    For those downvoting me, wait until you see the flood of people complaining about “Public transit information not available in this region” when it clearly is. It’ll happen tomorrow, guaranteed.

  • Crunk

    Not to mention Google Maps is giving a popup for traffic not being available… zoom out, and traffic is available.

    And the frame rate is really low.

    Why the downvotes? Download it and find out for yourself.

    • Rio

      No point Crunk, the moment they see negative comments about google they go in to a trance and start down voting.

  • Brad F(anboy)

    Alright, let’s try this!

    Hmmm, can’t seem to get me directions to work. Well, I might as well see if there’s any traffic.

    “Traffic information not available in this region.” That sucks. What about transit info?

    “Public transit information not available in this region.” Oh.

    Well, what the heck is the point of having this app?

    • backatya

      then back to apple maps you go Brad

    • Ant

      Works for me

    • dave thans

      You probably have a weak signal, leave your mo ms basement and try again.

    • Brad F(anboy)

      @Ant “I just had a heart attack!” “Well, my heart’s fine.”

      Doesn’t help me at all, Ant.

  • Apple Sales Guy

    No surprise the iOS version is much better than it’s android counterpart. This is the case with every other app that is available on both platforms.
    Apple and iOS = allows for the best looking and most functional apps.

    Cheers,
    ;)

  • Alex

    Welcome back!

  • Hrezine

    Not for iPad :(

  • Kriilin Namek

    Shouldn’t the first paragraph read “superior third-party alternatives”?

  • Brad F

    Google has released its long-awaited native maps app for iOS. The app brings turn-by-turn navigation and transit directions to long-suffering iOS 6 users, many of whom have sworn off Apple’s buggy and inaccurate mapping solution in favour of >>>inferior<<< third-party alternatives.

    u mean superior????

  • REDRUM

    RIP APPLE!!!!!!!!
    jus sayin..

  • dmyster

    now if I were Apple I would be gleaning all the information generated by Google maps and apply them to my own map app.
    Just sayin…

  • greg

    Downloaded the Google Maps app for iOS yesterday, and wow, it’s waaayyyyy better than Apple’s sad excuse for a navigation app. Is there any way to delete Apple Maps permanently from the iPhone?

    • Legendary

      Unfortunately no. With iOS you’re kinda locked in that way.

  • mjolnir

    quick question: how exactly does google make money off google maps, and in particular on ios?

  • Jay

    As someone who’s been pushed to iPhone for work, I am VERY happy that Google has released maps for my iPhone 5! I can find places now!!!

  • OMG BASEDGOD #taskforce #tybg

    Sigh…Google is too nice/business saavy to say no.