Ever since Apple decided to ditch Google Maps in favor of its own Maps app, it hasn’t won over a lot of fans. Not only was Apple’s offering inaccurate, but it was also believed to be life threatening in some cases. Apple has previously asked users to opt for third party Maps applications found in the iTunes Play Store instead of relying on the native app. And right about then, we began hearing murmurs about the launching of Google Maps as a third party application in the Play Store. It has been somewhat of a mystery really, but it isn’t anymore as Google has formally launched the app for iOS devices. The app comes with an array of features as you would expect from Google Maps, and it offers turn by turn navigation too in its own Google’esque way.
There’s the complete set of features you would expect from Google Maps and this is a substantially upgraded version of what natively existed on iOS prior to iOS 6. The app also brings forth its standard Street View feature along with more than accurate transit directions for your nearby bus or train station. It’s a pretty welcome addition to the iOS ecosystem and one which has seen thousands of downloads already. Some would say the app has been long overdue, but it was not Google’s problem in the first place. Apple was cocky enough to go without Google Maps and failed miserably, even leading to the firing of one of the iOS development team’s key men, Scott Forstall.
As you would expect from an iOS app, this one too has its own slurry of features giving it the unique touch. Unfortunately if you’re on an iPad, you might still have to deal with the iPhone version of the app on the big screen, which as we all know looks pretty horrible. So there you have it folks, Google has come to the rescue of Apple with Google Maps in a fairly unselfish way. We would have expected Google to make Apple wait a while before posting the app as a punishment to its arrogance, ah well. What’s interesting to see now is how Apple will go back from this. As expected, the folks at iOS development team are back to the drawing board to improve their native maps app. So if a time should arrive when Apple thinks its offering is substantially better than Google Maps, will it remove Google Maps from the AppStore? Because as we all know, people would be pretty hooked to G Maps by then and it would take some convincing to make them delete the app in favor of Apple Maps. Should be an interesting next six months. We hope Apple learns from this and includes Google Maps by default with the next major release of iOS. I’m fairly certain a few in Cupertino are already contemplating this.