According to a report from All Things SD, Google will launch a Google Maps application on the Apple App Store tonight. Representatives for the two companies have declined to comment on the pending release. According to a report that was originally published by the Wall Street Journal during mid-November, the application has been in the final testing phase and the app has been distributed to people outside of Google’s headquarters for further testing. The launch of a Google Maps application means iPhone 5 users will finally have an alternative to Apple’s mapping software.
According to Apple, the company shifted away from Google Maps after Google decided against including turn-by-turn directions and voice navigation with Apple’s version of the software. Alternatively, Google does include those features within the Android version of the application.
It’s possible that Google will end up including those features within the iOS application in order to compete more effectively against Apple’s internal mapping software. However, Google representatives haven’t confirmed those features will be available in the standalone version of the iOS application.
The launch of Apple’s mapping software has only been problematic for the company. Recently, Australian police have warned residents and visitors not to use the application since travelers have been getting stranded by faulty directions. Prior to that report, CEO Tim Cook issued an apology for the launch of iOS Maps and the manager in charge of the project has been fired from his position at Apple.
However, the launch of Google Maps for iOS does require the approval of Apple. In addition, iPhone users will have to manually install the application as well as launch the application when searching for directions. Alternatively, Apple’s mapping software is already installed on all mobile devices running iOS 6. In addition, the default mapping application is directly tied into many popular applications. For instance, a Yelp user can click “Open Maps App” in the Yelp application in order to bring up driving directions to a local business and Apple’s mapping software will automatically launch.
EDIT: Google Maps is now live on the App Store: LINK The updated version of Google Maps includes turn-by-turn voice directions as well as overlays for traffic problems, public transit routes and satellite imagery.
When a user searches for a specific business within the application, the user can scroll up at the bottom of the screen to view store hours, the address of the business, pictures related to the business, a link to the business website and menus for restaurants. Users can continue to scroll down the page to view reviews of the business. Google has also include quick buttons for calling the business, saving the location or sharing the location with friends.
In addition, if users log in with their Google accounts, they will be able to pull up their search history for places on Google Maps. The Google Maps application will store previously searched locations within the application interface. Users can also switch between driving, public transit or walking directions as well.