Google has brought its Street View tool to mobile browsers, a move likely to please a number of iOS 6 users missing the function on their Apple device after the Cupertino wiped Google’s Maps app from its updated operating system, replacing it with its own version.
Rolled out on Thursday, the feature means users can now view a location through 360-degree imagery, something not available with Apple’s new Maps app.
“Starting today, use Street View on your mobile browser to check out a new shop across town or get a feel for the ambiance at a restaurant before you arrive,” Amanda Leicht, product manager of Google Maps, wrote in a blog post introducing the new feature. “To use Street View on your mobile browser simply go to maps.google.com and search for a location. Then click the ‘pegman’ icon at the bottom right of your screen to access Street View. And to view still more helpful imagery, such as a photos shared by users or interior panoramas, visit the business’ Google+ Local page.”
Apple’s decision to move into mapping was met with a mixture of curiosity and excitement when news of its intention first emerged earlier this year. However, when it launched with iOS 6 last month, many users complained of a lack of functionality and detail, and also pointed out a number of location errors. In one famous example, Dublin airport had been placed on a farm.
With an increasing number of complaints surfacing, Apple chief Tim Cook deemed the problem so serious that he was moved to issue a letter of apology to users, admitting that the company had fallen short of its commitment “to make world-class products.” A report this week suggested the company is planning to use its retail staff – not particularly well known for their cartography skills – to help improve its mapping data.
Google is reportedly working on bringing a new Maps app to iOS – possibly combining it with Google Earth. In the meantime, iPhone owners who’ve upgraded to iOS 6 and who were heavy users of Maps have been busy checking out alternatives such as Google’s Maps mobile Web app. These ones are also worth a look.