As most of you have probably heard by now, the official Google Maps app finally hit iOS last night after several months of speculation. It’s fast, looks great, and the general consensus seems to be that Google really hit a home run.
New York Times’ columnist David Pogue certainly seems to like it, and he had a few interesting things to say about it in his review. The well-connected writer says that Google admits the iPhone app is even better than the Android version, and an iPad version is on the way…
“It’s a lot of features. The big question: How well did Google cram them in without sinking the app with featuritis? This, it turns out, is the best news of all. The brand-new, completely rethought design is slick, simple and coherent. Google admits that it’s even better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus…
…Finally, although Google Maps runs fine on the iPad, it’s just a blown-up version of the iPhone version. There’s not yet an iPad-specific app. Google says that goodies like those will be coming soon.”
As we told you last night, Google Maps for iOS is quite impressive. It has a clean UI, it’s vector-based, so things load fairly quickly, and it has several useful features like Street View and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. It even has a cool way to report bugs — just shake the device.
Unfortunately, since it’s a third-party app, Google Maps still isn’t a total solution. Tapping on an address in Mail, or Siri for instance, will still open up Apple Maps. Google has said, though, that it’s releasing APIs for its Maps so other developers can integrate and embed its data.
Now that Google Maps is on iOS, and it’s good, Apple needs to step up its game. It’ll be interesting to see how this battle-of-the-maps unfolds over the coming months. Either way, as with all competition, consumers win.