That’s right, iPhone owners — you can finally drop Apple’s (AAPL) awful iOS Maps application in the junk folder on your last app page. Google (GOOG) on Wednesday evening released its third-party Google Maps application for iOS devices including the iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 5.1 and later. And it’s glorious. It doesn’t offer deep iOS integration like Apple’s Maps app does, but it also won’t leave you stranded in the Australian outback to be ravaged by rabid dingos. More →
Augmented reality hasn’t caught on as some may have hoped, but as smartphone adoption increases we have begun to see more developers incorporating the feature into their mobile applications. Google (GOOG) is just one the companies that has embraced the technology, launching an AR-enabled mobile game this past Thursday. Smaller companies, such as Japanese developer Crossfader, have also looked towards AR to help their applications standout in a crowded marketplace. Crossfader’s AR-MAPS application for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 allows users to enhance maps by using a live video feed from their smartphone’s camera. The app lets users search for specific addresses or landmarks, and even places a pin on locations that can be viewed through the camera. AR-MAPS can be programmed to use mapping data from Apple Maps or Google Maps and is available for free in the App Store.
Ever since Apple (AAPL) replaced Google (GOOG) with its own mapping service in iOS earlier this year, the Internet giant has been rumored to be preparing a dedicated Maps application for the iPhone and iPad. While Google’s former CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed in September that the company had not prepared a maps application for iOS 6, recent reports suggested that an iOS-specific app was on its way, although employees believed Apple would bar it from its App Store. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has reportedly distributed a test version of its new mapping app for iPhones and iPads to testers outside of the company and is putting the “finishing touches” on the app before submitting it to the App Store. A Google spokesperson responded to the report with a vague statement confirming that the company’s goal is “to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”
iPhone fans hoping to get Google Maps back on their home screens soon shouldn’t hold their breath. A new report from The Guardian claims that while the Internet giant is developing an iOS specific Google Maps apps, the company is “not optimistic” that Apple (AAPL) would ever approve it. Google (GOOG) employees were reportedly optimistic following the departure of Apple’s Scott Forstall, but the company now believes that Apple will still bar the app due to “industry politics.” Apple’s decision to replace Google Maps with its own in-house service this past September has been widely panned, forcing CEO Tim Cook to apologize and leading to Fortstall’s resignation. The Guardian’s source did note that the two companies are in constant communication over a variety of topics and things can change rather quickly. If a Google Maps app is approved, however, iOS users should “never expect” to see Google as the iPhone’s default mapping solution.
Help for your mapping needs is on the way, iPhone users. San Francisco-based software developer Ben Guild has posted some details about Google (GOOG) Maps for iOS 6 on his blog, along with some low-quality images that he says are the application’s alpha build. Among other things, Guild says the app will be ” vector-based,” will feature “two-finger rotation for any angle” and will be formatted for the iPhone 5′s four-inch display. Needless to say, this is music to the ears of iPhone 5 users who love their new device but who miss having the guidance of Google’s high-quality Maps application. More →
The trouble with trying to catch up with Google (GOOG) Maps right now is that Google isn’t exactly resting on its laurels. Case in point: Google on Thursday updated more than 250,000 miles of road images on Street View , which the company says is its largest update for the feature yet. The update includes increased road coverage in the United States, Macau, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada, and “special collections” in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico. On Google’s Maps blog, the company showed off new Street View updates for Taiwan’s Taroko National Park and Denmark’s Kronborg castle. More →
Google (GOOG) on Thursday plans to announce the addition of its Street View feature to the Web version of its Maps service for the iPhone and iPad, AllThingsD’s Walter Mossberg reports. Street View displays 360-degree photographic views of select streets and business in various locations throughout the world. Despite the fact that Apple (AAPL) chose to remove the Google Maps application from the iPhone in iOS 6, it is still possible to access the popular service through the smartphone’s Web browser and users can of course create a shortcut of Google Maps on their homescreens. Mossberg also said that he believes Google is working on bringing a native iOS Maps app to the App Store, despite recent rumors.
UPDATE: Google Maps Street View is now live for the iPhone and iPad. More →
Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook might have issued a heartfelt apology for the subpar new Maps app, but look on the bright side: Apple’s vector graphics-based app is actually up to five times more data efficient than Google’s (GOOG) raster graphics-based iOS Maps app, according to a new analysis from Onavo. By using vector graphics, Apple’s Maps app doesn’t need to re-download map images every time a user adjusts the view leading to less data consumption. More →
As if Google (GOOG) needed to do anything more to show that its Maps application runs circles around Apple’s (AAPL), the company on Wednesday unveiled a new Maps feature that incorporates underwater panorama shots of several coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The new underwater Maps pictures were shot with the help of the Catlin Seaview Survey, a scientific project dedicated to studying coral reefs and bringing the public “unprecedented accessibility to our oceans through ‘virtual diving.’” A video of Google’s underwater Maps project is posted below. More →
By now everyone knows about the glaring flaws in Apple’s (AAPL) homemade maps application. The question, then, is why did Apple decide to launch its own maps app when it still had access to Google (GOOG) Maps for at least another year? Unnamed sources have told AllThingsD that Apple was royally ticked off that Google was holding back on implementing turn-by-turn navigation in the iOS version of Google Maps, especially since the Android version of the app has had that feature for years now. Google’s reasoning for holding out on turn-by-turn navigation? According to AllThingsD, Google felt it had invested lots of money into the technology over the years and didn’t want to hand it over to a rival software platform. Needless to say, this adds an interesting wrinkle into the ongoing Apple Maps soap opera. More →
It was previously believed by some that Apple’s (AAPL) decision to replace Google’s (GOOG) detailed Maps app with its own inferior mapping solution was because of an expired contract. But according to The Verge, the search giant still had an entire year left to provide Apple’s iOS devices with Google Maps. Apple simply decided to pull the plug early because it felt Google Maps on iOS was not on par with Google Maps on Android according to the report, which has features such as turn-by-turn navigation. Contrary to Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s insistence that the company doesn’t have any Google Maps app in its wings, The New York Times reports that Google is scrambling to release a standalone Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad by the end of the year. Apple is also reportedly hiring ex-Google Maps employees to beef up its own iOS 6 Maps app.
Former Google (GOOG) CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday confirmed to Reuters that the Internet giant has made no move to provide Google Maps app for the iPhone 5 or iOS 6. “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?” Schmidt said to a small group of reporters in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.” Apple (AAPL) dropped Google Maps from its latest operating system in favor of its own in-house program, however the Cupertino-based company has seen a tremendous amount of user backlash. Schmidt revealed that Google and Apple were in constant communication “at all kinds of levels,” although he noted that any decision to allow a Google Maps application in the App Store would have to be made by Apple. “We have not done anything yet,” he said.
The Maps application in iOS 6 is disappointing to say the least, and while Apple (AAPL) may be on a hiring spree to fix the problem, one iOS hacker has taken matters into his own hands. Ryan Petrich on Sunday posted a video that demonstrates the original Google Maps program from iOS 5 running on iOS 6. Petrich revealed that he would like to release the hack to the public, however it is not yet stable enough to do so. As expected, it is required that users have a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 6 for the port to be successful. A video of Google Maps running on iOS 6 follows below. More →