Google submits iOS Maps app, hopes to have it approved before Christmas

By , Sep 20, 2012

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 24 hours, you are aware that crappy Apple Maps in iOS 6 provoked a very public backlash. We told you earlier today that a Google executive hinted in a brief interview with Bloomberg TV that iPhone 5 users can go download Google Maps, an unusual wording given that a rumored native Google Maps app couldn’t be found on the App Store yet.

Adding fuel to fire, The Guardian newspaper reports that Google submitted the program and that it is now in Apple’s sole discretion to approve it. Whether or not club Cupertino greenlights the nsoftware or throws it down the toilet over duplicate functionality remains to be seen.

At any rate, a native Google Maps experience akin to the recently released YouTube app would be more than welcome given the controversial downgrade that is Apple’s in-house mapping solution in iOS 6…

UPDATE: The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple denied the claim that Google has its Maps app for review.

The Guardian has the story:

Google, I hear from roundabout sources, is enjoying the bad press Apple is suffering.

I bet they are.

It would be surprising if its mappers could resist some schadenfreude, since they are very proud of their work; having it rejected wholesale must be galling.

It’s also worth pointing out that Google has years-long expertise in building comprehensive mapping services. The company employs tons of people charged with making sure that mapping data is up to date and accurate.

And now this, emphasis mine:

The same sources say that Google is preparing a Google Maps app for iOS6, which will appear in time.

Does that mean Apple will approve it?

No official statement has been made and there will inevitably be questions over whether Apple will approve it in the App Store. Apple might not, on the basis that it “competes with existing functionality”, but would invite a further backlash if it did.

Ball is now definitely in Apple’s court.

Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long as the Google Voice app, which spent a whole year until Apple’s review team put it through purgatory.

iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith responded to The Guardian story on Twitter with a “yep”.

Per TechCrunch, Google hopes to have iOS Maps app in the App Store “before Christmas”.

I was able to confirm independently that Google internally has had a native Maps experience for the iPhone in various stages of development. My source wasn’t able to confirm whether the version Google allegedly submitted to Apple is same as the one it’s been working on for quite some time.


Three-dimensional view of major metropolitan cities is one area where Apple’s solution beats Google’s technology.

According to TheUnderstatement.com and Apple’s website, 51 countries have no access to Transit data in iOS 6 Maps, 24 countries lost traffic data, 41 countries are without access to Street View and 20 countries don’t support turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Flyovers.

One way to get back the Google Maps experience after updating to iOS 6 entails opening maps.google.com in Safari and adding a shortcut to your home screen via the Share menu. This will create a handy home screen icon to the Google Maps web app that supports transit, directions and other features.

Of course, it’s not as smooth or pretty an experience as stock Google Maps iOS app used to be.

Think of it as a stopgap solution until Apple approves Google’s software.

We ran a little poll earlier in the week, asking you, our readers, whether or not you are looking forward to the native Google Maps experience on the iPhone. The results were a tad surprising, with a whopping 85 percent voting YES.


Hm, I thought Apple Maps were ad-free?

Apple’s mapping solution is a solid initial release, but in certain aspects leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s also possibly prone to lawsuits (I already see them coming).

An Apple spokesperson said that “we appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better”, underscoring its Maps solution is a cloud-based service  that gets better over time, as more people use it.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to take years until Apple smooths out tons of rough edges and perfects its data sets. Only then will Apple Maps be able to take on Google’s solution.

Until then, I wouldn’t use Apple Maps in iOS 6 to navigate around if I were you.

Thoughts?

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  • Johnny manidis

    And it’s gonna be…. Denied

  • http://twitter.com/doorsunopened Jason J.

    oh man. they have to approve this, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anibal.schumacher Anibal Schumacher

    Apple Maps are working fine for me, standard, 3d and flyover…

  • Kok Hean

    Where’s Google Now?!

    • Al

      I’ve been thinking about that for weeks now…..Seems to me its a serious threat to Siri.

      I always believe if Google presents such a good quality of apps on the Apple Platform it only helps Google share a glimpse of what a Apple user is missing from Android.

      And, from my point of view that opens a curious Apple user to switch from an iOS platform to Android. IMO

      • Hyr3m

        Although I understand your point, I believe iOS users take Google’s apps (stock or not) for granted and as completely part of the iOS experience. After all, they have been a huge part of the iPhone’s success since the very beginning; Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was even there at the unveiling of the original iPhone.
        Apple’s epic fail with their maps (cr)app however might force sheeple to open their eyes to the situation : right now, iOS is the worst smartphone operating system out there, down there right under RIM’s BlackBerry OS (and that’s saying something!).

    • @dongiuj

      Closed in a locked room and apple’s hidden the key.

  • http://twitter.com/Haaaatim Hatim

    Honestly, this is the only thing keeping me from updating to iOS 6. If apple denies this app, I’m gonna be pissed (and I’m sure a lot of other people will be too).

    • kumar714

      have u even tried imaps? try it, it’s pretty decent

  • http://twitter.com/rashadnoor2005 R N

    well, let’s hope they approve this ASAP, because I am definitely not updating mine to iOS6 with this s*** Apple new map system after using it on my friends 4S, he was very pissed when he found out how bad it was too, Apple doesn’t seem to care about user(s) outside the USA -_-

  • Emre SÜMENGEN

    So, would all these mean, you’d suggest us to use Google Maps (if available) to navigate around?

    Asking this, because where I am, Google is not far better actually…

    I’d say do pay a little money and buy iGo or Tomtom.

    (And, when Google comes around with a native app that has updated maps -that are more recent than a year- and has all the features that the android version has, I’ll use it. Until then, I’d rather keep up with Apple, rather than feed Google while they feed us with Android left-overs.)

  • SarmadMakhdoom

    After updating to iOS 6, I almost lost maps and places in Apple so called maps app. I am anxiously waiting for Google Maps for iOS 6.

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      You lost what?

      • SarmadMakhdoom

        lol, I wrote lost maps, I mean where I live mostly renowned places are not there, no directions, even my entire university is not on the Apple Maps, I can see only my hometown name in the maps but if I zoom for places it showing nothing :P while on the contrary Google Maps were so helpful in finding direction and looking for place. BTW my country is Pakistan

      • ali_plus

        Same here Sarmad. No maps for Lahore. Downgrading to 5.1.1 is a very good option.

      • http://www.facebook.com/living4angel Pankaj Rana

        Almost same problem in my location too, India, information are not Upto the mark like Google Maps..

      • Emre SÜMENGEN

        Just give it a little time man…

        Doesn’t anybody remember the first time Google announced Maps?

        For god’s sake, it’s just been announced and it’s pretty darn good already for a very new service. And, it will get better.

  • http://twitter.com/LiamsaGooch Liam Merlyn

    “competes with existing functionality”? That’s utterly rediculous. I could list a dozen calculator apps or calendar apps or contacts apps all which “competes with existing functionality” and yet I don’t see Apple bothering with them. Complete bollocks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

      Can i just say he was speculating… Apple hasn’t said anything on the topic of a Google Maps app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yoni.b.pinto Yoni Pinto

    The initial release is far from solid – there are problems with 3D, listings, accurate searches and directions…

  • Eric Armstrong

    “Whether or not Cupertino greenlights the native Google Maps app…”
    Cupertino is a city, I don’t think they have the power to allow Google Maps into the App Store. Although, I could be wrong. I’ve read two articles today that have this same error. Maybe you could refer to Apple as “the Cupertino based company”.

  • Irfan Tarique

    Hurry up man!!! freakin cant look at bus schedules anymore and the maps suck ass

  • http://www.facebook.com/formulajohnny Johnny A. Rojas

    google maps in ios 5 has 3D?

  • Irfan Tarique

    If google maps app is not available soon i will stop using the iphone

    • http://twitter.com/redevil1987 Damian W

      seriously, it is a bit extreme.

    • Appletiser

      navigate to maps.google with safari and just install the web app onto your homescreen and continue using google’s version, it’s not ideal but it’s far better than to stop using your iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisNAiello Chris Aiello

    Companies will be companies.
    Side note: this is probably one of the worst-written articles on the site. Christian Zibreg is a name I’ll try to avoid from now on.

  • http://twitter.com/randomprice Sol Estravís

    Google maps aren’t even as good in my country, most streets don’t have correct names. Maps are rarely updated here. Obviously better than nothing but I don’t rely on it at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    I personally like the Apple maps, especially the turn-by-turn (which I have had NO issues with whatsoever), but I guess it’s because I was never a big map-user anyways.

  • http://twitter.com/melovestoast Jared Floyd

    The only thing ill miss from google maps is street view.. Probably one of the most useful things in my life. (technology wise)

  • hebron2000

    I like google I use it for long time
    And I don’t have problem withe them and unlike the old YouTube apps. I think it’s not good dissision from apple to font support them

  • http://twitter.com/sasha_lytvyn Sasha Lytvyn

    Let’s be honest, GOOGLE MAPS is also not designed for international usage, I just checked the maps of my home town in Ukraine, the Satellite Pics are prob 10-15 years old.
    Back home I never even opened the Maps app on my first iphone
    and guess what? there is no apple store and will prob never be, so why should we expect the support for the phone that is not even supposed to be sold there

  • http://www.facebook.com/idmeraz Isaac Daniel Meraz

    C’mon guys we’ve gotta give apple a break. Just try to remember the first time google came up with something called google earth. There were no maps or street view or places or anything at all and yet we all were amazed. Now, another company wich didn’t have anything to do with maps comes up with better and newer photos (at least in Tampico, Mexico), with a brand new an amazing way of looking at maps like flyover and 3D map viewing and we give the a hard time like we haven’t in many time. Think about how much google earth improved in 8 years to become google maps, and think what will apple do with their maps app in the next 2 years. I’m looking forward to see that an the fact that we tease them this bad makes my curiosity grow to see why will they come up with. Just my thoughts here.

  • iDevizes

    I have iOS 6 but i cannot see any 3D options, what am i doing wrong? tnx