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Google Maps for iOS in final testing phase, includes turn-by-turn navigation

google maps iconIf you’re an iOS user with no hair on your head (because you’ve pulled it all out grappling fruitlessly with Apple’s sub-par Maps app), then listen up. According to a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday, Google is close to submitting its new Maps app to the iOS store.

The Mountain View company has reportedly been putting the “finishing touches” to the app and has distributed it to several individuals outside the company for testing

The new app is thought to include turn-by-turn navigation, a feature absent from Google’s previous version of Maps for iOS, which was sent packing by Apple in September with the launch of iOS 6. The Cupertino company replaced it with its own much-ridiculed mapping software (which incidentally does include turn-by-turn navigation), also called Maps, which Apple boffins – led by senior vice president for Internet software and services Eddy Cue – are now working hard on improving.

Some believe Google’s greatest challenge will be getting Apple to accept its new Maps app into the iOS store, though with so many other mapping alternatives already available in the store – and the fact that Google already has many other apps available to iOS users – it wouldn’t be too clever of Apple to reject this one. A bit of direct competition on the same platform would be good for everyone, and would certainly push those working on improving Apple’s version to focus on the job in hand.

Google’s confidence in the mapping arena must be sky high after Apple’s mis-step, with a company spokesperson telling the WSJ, “We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”

When Apple’s mapping software launched in September, many people soon started complaining of mis-placed locations, a lack of detailed data and an overall poor user experience. Company boss Tim Cook even issued a letter of apology to users for launching a product before it was ready, and promised to “keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard” as other Apple products.