The doing away of Google’s mapping technology and adoption of its own maps was nothing short of a disaster for Apple. The erroneous data and the gaping holes in the app were the butt of many jokes and a PR hot potato for the Cupertino based giant. The scope and scale of the disaster can be gauged from the fact that its CEO Tim Cook had to come out with an apology.
Since then, there have been rumors that Google is in the process of developing a standalone mapping application of the iOS platform, but there were conflicting reports as to when it will be out, well, it’s out now; and it’s good.
For those who thought Google would let Apple stew in its own Apple Maps juice for a while, this news comes as a disappointment, as there is no doubt that all this while the search engine giant was actually working on a Map app for the iOS platform. It’s out with it now, so let’s take a closer look at ‘Google Maps’ for the iPhone.
An overview of the app tell us that Google Maps is a pretty nifty little app that Google has got for us, it has features like voice guiding, turn-by-turn direction and also offers live traffic information, for over 600 cities, that are spread across over 50 countries. So, you not only get the benefit of comprehensive and extremely accurate maps, you also get some goodies thrown into the bargain as well.
A person can use the built in Google local search to find addresses, his favorite restaurants or any other place that he she wants to visit. Google wants its Maps app to be a tool for discovery and this one is no different, and you don’t just get directions to your favorite places, but also more information about them in terms of ratings and local reviews.
Google Maps enthusiasts (yes there are those too), wanted Street View and imagery on their iPhones and that’s been given to them. So, now the 4 inch Retina Display of your iPhone 5 can literally come to life with a 360 degree panoramas of places that you want to visit and get directions for. More importantly, you can even get satellite imagery of various locations around the world, and view all of that in high resolution.
An Opportunity Taken
Once Apple made its preference for its own mapping applications clear, Google could have seen this as an opportunity lost, but it didn’t, and it looked at the silver lining. It now had the opportunity, to develop an app from scratch and think afresh. It was as if they were building a new application for the iPhone, to give users a next generation mapping experience.
There is absolutely no doubt that Google has grabbed Apple’s missed opportunity with both hands, and has given users an app that is quite complex in its scope but has a very easy-to-use user interface, and will allow iPhone users to become a part of an immersive mapping experience.
No doubt about it, Google’s map app is like a bugle call to Apple to get its act together and get its map app in order. Its cut throat competition of a different sort as Google is competing with Apple by positioning itself on the company’s own devices! Also, for now, I am sure most iPhone users are going to download Google Maps onto their devices, and not many are going to trust Apple Maps, at least for now.