Update: Google Maps are out. Here’s how to get them.
Original: Rejoice, lost iPhone users!
Google is planning on releasing its own mapping app for the iPhone tonight, says Liz Gannes at All Things D.
As you no doubt know, Apple dropped Google’s mapping data in the latest version of iOS, going with its own maps. Those maps have not been well received.
They are so bad that CEO Tim Cook apologized for Apple maps, saying “We screwed up. That’s the fact.”
The maps debacle also played a part in the departure of Scott Forstall, the Apple executive who basically invented the iPhone’s software, and led iOS. Forstall reportedly refused to sign an apology to users for Apple maps.
Apple dropped Google maps because Google didn’t want to give Apple access to turn by turn directions. This made the iPhone’s maps inherently weaker than Android’s maps. Gannes doesn’t say if the iOS app will have turn by turn or not.
As much as the lack of Google maps hurt Apple, it’s also bad for Google. Google loses out on hundreds of millions of users. That presents a giant hole in its data set to make Google maps better. So, Google needs to be on the iPhone, just as much as Apple might need a good Google maps app to keep users happy.
Before getting too excited about Google maps, we should note that in the past Google has had some pretty bad iPhone apps. Lately it has improved. The Gmail app is excellent. And we haven’t heard many complaints about the YouTube app.
As soon as the Google maps app is on our phone, we’ll have a detailed review.