In two rather surprising moves, Google today changed the way users will interact with two of its post popular services; YouTube and Maps. One has received an all-new mode for people to use, whilst the other is going the way of Google Reader.
Jaws definitely dropped when Apple launched the first iOS 6 beta with no Google Maps support, but we have moved on since then through the Mapgate scandal and now we have the official launch of Google Maps for iOS through the App Store, that comes with a reported admission from within Google that this latest launch for Apple devices provides a better experience than its Android based counterpart.
Apple's iOS 6 may have enjoyed record levels of adoption in its first couple of months in existence, but one area of the new mobile software sticks in everybody's mind - that dreadful Maps app. Tim Cook apologized for it, iOS SVP Scott Forstall was ousted due (in part) to its shortcomings, and other mapping apps have benefitted greatly as a result. But whilst Cook assures us that his company is doing everything they can to rectify the issue, we perhaps underestimated just how dedicated the Cupertino are to have the best mapping app around. Rather than fix the inaccurate street names and landmark locations within the app, staff have been spotted attempting to change the world's geographical traits to fall in line with iOS Maps!
After months of rumor and speculation, the iPhone 5 finally hit the retail market at the end of September, but while the device itself launched without so much as a hiccup (save those well-documented yield and production issues), its accompanying firmware was not so fortunate. iOS 6 had also generated a fair amount of coverage during the course of the year, and although Apple's decision to press ahead with its own in-house Maps offering in place of the old faithful Google iteration was initially seen as brave, the move quickly emerged as a strong candidate for tech fail of the year.
Users of iOS 6 will be more than aware by now that Google's powerful Maps app is no longer part of Apple's plans, with the latest iteration of the company's mobile operating system shipping with their own mapping solution in place of it. It doesn't really matter what your personal opinions are on the subject and whether you love or hate the Apple’s very own Maps app, the fact remains that competition always breeds innovation and having an official Google Maps app on the App Store can only be a good thing for iOS users.
Apple's Maps app, which, in case you hadn't already heard, was released two weeks ago along with iOS 6, has quite a great deal wrong with it, and one of the key concerns of consumers is its lack of accuracy. Those accustomed to Google Maps may have been able to excuse many of Apple Maps' other flaws and imperfections, but a mapping application strewn with error and falling short on delivering pinpoint results serves as little use to man or beast.
Google is the undisputed champion of mapping solutions today. MapQuest, Nokia, Bing, Waze and all these other map services are good, but only in limited regions; Google Maps covers more area and in greater detail.
iOS 6 Maps has received its fair share of criticism from the customers and the press, prompting Apple to publish an apologetic letter on their official website’s landing page, and even suggesting users to use third-party alternatives until iOS 6 Maps improve.
Tim Cook's open letter, published earlier in apology to the public for Apple's shortcomings with the new Maps app of iOS 6, was certainly required to try and calm the storm which has built up over the past ten days. The letter itself wasn't particularly surprising, but Cook and Apple's decision to recommend other, rivaling apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to utilize until iOS Maps is sorted out, was a bit of an eyebrow raiser; and now the App Store echoes those recommendations made by the company's CEO.
Although it may have, regrettably, lost its place among Apple's native iOS apps, Google has been working tirelessly in updating and improving its Maps service, which is one of the strongest and most polished services available. Since announcing a bunch of improvements back in June, including dramatic enhancements to the quality of 3D images, much work and development has been going on behind the scenes, and the next large update looks finally ready to roll out to consumers.