You may recall that, just yesterday, the brand new official Google Maps App made its way back to the App Store for iOS users. And, by the looks of it, Google have once again outdone themselves in the mapping arena.
New York Times Reviewer David Pogue has taken a good look at the app and seems to like it, even going so far as to say this it is a far better design that the Android version. This may be because, rather than just porting the Android version across, Google have built a brand new Maps App specifically for iOS.
While they are both basically the same map, providing the same maps, 3-D building views, street views and public transport routes there are some distinct differences between the two, For a start, the iOS version is much faster, being vector-based and it is much more intuitive. It has an integrated search bar at the top of the screen instead of a button. A simple button takes users straight to preset locations easily and quickly. The same feature is available on the Android version but it is buried within the app. Info cards are brought up at the bottom of the screen with the option of dragging them over two-thirds of the screen, still leaving the map visible – with Android the whole screen is taken over.
The only small problem is that when an address is selected in mail or Siri is used Apple Maps App is still elected but Google are releasing API’s to solve this problem. The current version does work on the iPad but it is only the iPhone version expanded. There will be an iPad specific version on the way soon though.
On the subject of the two Maps Apps, even Google say the iOS version is far superior to the Android version. One wonders if the reason they put so much effort in is because they wanted to prove to Apple that they are still number one for Maps and that dropping them was a mistake. Whatever the reason, this is a top-notch app and Apple will have to think really hard about how they are going to fix their Maps to be in with a chance of competing.