Coincidentally or not, The New York Times reports that Google will update its Maps for Android app today with new features, just as Apple is prepping to release iOS 6 for public consumption. iOS 6, as you know, drops a Google Maps-backend in favor of Apple’s own mapping solution. But Apple Maps are lacking in several areas.

For example, with Apple Maps users don’t get as high quality satellite imagery as with Google. Street-level photography is non-existent and transit directions are provided via dedicated App Store apps. And although Apple partners with local providers for accurate data, it currently cannot match Google, which has manpower and assets to collect its own data (and has been doing so for years).

But while Google released a standalone YouTube app for iOS following Apple’s removal of the stock app, the search Goliath stopped short of saying whether a standalone Maps app is in the works for iOS devices. With this in mind, we’ve put together a little poll so place your bets now…

From The New York Times story:

But what about iPhone users? For now, they can access Google Maps on their mobile Web browser. Mr. McClendon declined to say whether Google was building a Google Maps app for the Apple App Store, as it did for YouTube, which Apple also kicked off in the latest version of the iPhone.

As for the Android version, Google Maps can now sync locations, search queries and other data across devices. Provided you’re logged in, this makes it easy to pick up on your Android device right where you left off on desktop.

Google Maps VP Brian McClendon noted “it takes a long time and effort to figure out how to do this right”, adding that “experience is important”.

He’s right about that.


Image courtesy of Reddit

Quantifying the impending iOS 6 Maps backlash,Michael Degusta explains that 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will be without features they previously had in iOS, including:

• Transit: removed from 51 countries with 4.4 billion people
• Traffic: removed from 24 countries with 2.3 billion people
• Street View: removed from 41 countries with 2.5 billion people

For more on this, check out a nice post over at Business Insider.

Even Apple pundit John Gruber is in doubt:

The maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade. Users shouldn’t (and won’t) give a rip about behind the scenes negotiations. Seems pretty clear the new Maps is going to be the biggest problem with iOS 6.

What if Google doesn’t Google Maps on iOS, to paint the platform as the one with crappy maps?

Anil Dash has a nice overview of who benefits of the crappy iOS 6 Maps and Waze CEO Noam Bardin warns that Apple is “coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they’re competing against Google, which has the highest data”.

Now, all apps using the MapKit framework get the new Apple Maps by default. The problem is, embedded MapKit views cannot use a Google Maps-backend.

Of course, Google’s Maps experience is readily available on Apple’s mobile devices through any browser at maps.google.com.

But as Facebook has learned the hard way, HTML5 is not mature enough to match the responsiveness and smoothness of native iOS apps. Speaking of maps, check out cool infographic of the summer’s most popular activities that the Google Maps team created by analyzing searches patterns.

Here’s how transit directions work in Google Maps for Android.

Taking it all in, do you think Google should provide a standalone Maps app for iOS devices?


At any rate, the official Google Maps app for iOS could be in the works.

Google’s SVP of Commerce & Local Jeff Huber wrote back in June that his company was looking forward “to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS”.

I think it’s in Google’s interest to release iOS counterparts for all their core apps that ship with Android.

Such a move would create a Google ecosystem within the Apple ecosystem and with the ability to open Gmail links in Chrome it is obvious to me that the company is in it for the long haul.

Per usual, we welcome your additional observations and thoughts down in the comments.

  • Folks are really starting to troll this issue. Google Maps on iOS always sucked. Always. No turn by turn, no voice guidance, it was a joke. Yes, it did transit extremely well and general location data. But there was — and still is — much better alternatives both free and paid.

    • Bill

      Exactly….It’s called Google Maps NOT Google Navigation. You do know the difference right?

  • nftnft

    They definitely need to do that, and for jailbroken devices we need more tweaks for Google applications just like Browser Changer and YTopener.

  • R N

    Ya they really should, looking at all the report for Apples own map system definitely not promising nor will be pleasing if you’re outside the USA.

  • Yes….i like using google maps for android because of its amazing feature to save maps for offline use…

  • My problem is this poll itself: “Yes: Apple Maps area disaster waiting to happen.” or “No: regardless of teething problems, Apple will iterate its own Maps and they will be just as good as Google’s.” WHY CAN’T YOU GUYS JUST SAID: “If Google makes a new stand alone iOS Maps App ( Google Maps ) will you download it YES or NO. Why start fights on this subject. I’m a PC and I own an iPhone4S & iPad ( iPad3 )

    • No Whammy

      Exactly, the fact that question is even presented annoys me. A better one would be, “Would you use a new Google Maps app?” “No, I’m fine with Apple’s new implementation.” “Yes, I need some of the missing features and would like to see Google finally get free-reign on iOS.”

      This blog is all about trolling people’s emotions for more clicks.

      • Yes I agree, its one thing for companies like Apple vs Samsung or Google. Why have US readers and iDownloadblog followrs fight in the comments for the products and apps they love the use. on there devices. this poll is a fail.

  • Jay Kay

    Question should be will apple allow google native map app for iOS?

  • gian testa

    Is it possible for someone smart to take all of the data off of ios 5.1 for google maps and create a jailbreak app that works when a jailbreak is available for its 6 .. Sort of like the Siri port but should be easier

  • John Roberto Zapata

    There is advertising revenue in the map app. Open the map app, search for donuts, the first hit would be the company that pays apple for the sponsored ad, you go there, bling bling for google.
    of course there will be an app for that

  • Well, that poll escalated quickly.

  • Been using the ios6 beta. Was disappointed with apple maps since i couldnt get accurate search results for places i want to look for in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia. Also couldnt get directions to work most of the time. I hope they work on this. Otherwise, i’d really be glad if google makes a stand alone app for ios users.

  • I disagree Google Maps itself not the iOS Verison ( cripple by Apple ) is a good or even great service. Problem Google never had any real challenge in the Map area and yes Bing sucks. Apple will make there Map Service the best it can be simply because they got too so it can compete and brand out pass Mac or iOS. Like Safari on Windows its there to use but no one uses it on Windows. The world uses google Map Service. iOS Apple Maps is only iOS SO FAR… We all gonna wait for furture update to see the real power of Apples Maps… I’m a PC and I luv & own iPhone 4S & iPad ( iPad3 )

    • Stian French

      I’m and Android. And I’m an iPhone. Hey iPhone, how many people do you support with your public transit? … That’s what I thought.

  • It’s Apples first map guys. Remember when Google maps first came out? It was shit compared to now. Give it time and Apples maps will surely grow into a very nice map solution.

    • Juhweetwelwie

      Amen.

    • Sure, but are you willing to wait for Apple to catch up to the 8+ years its taken Google Maps to get where they are? And thats not including the years Where 2 Technologies had been working on it before being acquired by Google. Apple has a looooooong way to go before its comparible.

      I’ve upgraded my iPad but I’ll wait to upgrade my 4S until Google releases an official iOS app. Hope they release a version soon cause iOS 6 is amazing with the exception of the map app, which is a substantial downgrade from the current map app.

      • Stian French

        Not to mention, Google won’t be sitting on their behind waiting for Apple to catch up. If it takes 8 years for Apple to get to where Google is now, think of how much better the Google service will have improved in that time.

      • Exactly. Apple has forced themselves to a full out sprint at the beginning of a marathon that Google not only is leading others in by a huge margin but also has an enormous head start in.

  • 1- Apple has a strong history pattern of dropping companies. They use Internet Explorer for many years than got tired of Promoting some of Microsoft products. Made Safari but they still use office but you get the picture.
    2- Google Service was integrated into iOS like Twitter, Yelp, FB, and more are today. Google wanted more POWER Apple say no. Google went on the make Android thank Apple for making Android by saying no. Apple tired of Google so its moving away.
    3- Apple works with Samsung, Samsung starts growing HUGE in the Android space. Apple starts trolling because Samsung starts copying. Samsung copies phones, tablets, stores, there employees no longer wear ties ( lol maybe ) and even tired to find there own Jonathan Ive. Apple is now moving away from Samsung. When LG becomes big cause of Apple they will drop them too maybe.

    4- iPhone5 A6 chip is Apple first Processor made by Apple. You never know maybe they’ll drop intel in the near future for the Macs than move on to Graphics but only if Intel starts getting hungry. Again Maybe

    5- When Apple was making the first iPhone they approach Verizon first before AT&T. Apple want to control and promote the iPhone like you see you today Verizon said no and turn them down. Verizon: “If any company wants to put there product on our network they gonna use our tools.” Otherwise there saying let me put some Bloatware and you got it a deal. AT&T agrees to Apple’s demands and iPhone changes everything you see today. Verizon left out in the cold then finally gets the iPhone after many years. Finally giving in to Apple demands.

    Bonus: Once Verizon has the iPhone the phone plan increased. No more unlimited Data and there Strongly push Android because they feel Apple has to much power. AT&T copies Verizon idea on the Android push for the same reason. Now we have no early iPhone 5 upgrades.

    I’m a PC and luv / own iPhone4S & iPad ( iPad3 )

  • goofygreek

    “• Transit: removed from 51 countries with 4.4 billion people
    • Traffic: removed from 24 countries with 2.3 billion people
    • Street View: removed from 41 countries with 2.5 billion people”

    Wow, i didnt realize the apple maps app is so crappy. I know a lot of people that use traffic at least, and that will be a big disappointment that they dont even get to choose to use google vs apple maps. Apple is going to get some heat over this, hope they have updates coming soon.

  • Irfan Tarique

    IOS 6 maps sucks ass in canada

  • I answered “No” but my answer isn’t really “No”. I believe that Apple took a huge risk here going out with their own maps ecosystem with a data set that is lacking in comparison to Google. However, I am not the type of person who likes having multiple apps of the same task, so I would find having the Maps app and a Google Maps app repetitive, and I probably would not download the Google Maps app.

    But I do believe that those who benefited from transit directions and walking directions from the old Maps app should definitely get a Google maps app, as the walking directions on the Apple Maps is essentially driving directions but with estimated times based on walking, and relying on third party apps for transit sucks.

  • hariharan

    it will take a very long time for apple to update the maps like google, they should have went for google maps,

  • YES. Google, please make a NATIVE iOS MAPS APP. iPhone 4 user here, leaving in a big city. I rely on public transportation, and I quite like the Maps app. Which is why I’m still on 5.1.1

  • Actually Apple maps in Croatia have better and newer imagery with higher details 🙂

  • maurid

    The picture comparing iOS 5 and iOS 6 Maps itself is just sad.