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Google Maps makes its return to iOS in style

Google Maps is back on the app store, and it looks like it’s once again stolen the march on Apple.

When Apple decided to abandon Google’s mapping service in favour of its own, things didn’t work out so well. Bridges disappeared, roads melted and, egg on face, Tim Cook had to apologise.

All the while, Google tried to give iOS users the best experience it could via its web app and quietly got to work on an iOS Maps app.

Now that app has arrived and it looks pretty damn good. Not for nothing does The Verge call it “the best-looking mobile maps experience on the market today”.

The app features turn-by-turn navigation, transit directions, walking directions, satellite view, street view, indoor photos, Zagat restaurant reviews, and some integration with your Google profile. It is also fully native instead of using a web wrapper.

According to Google, you can also send feedback just by shaking the phone.

Google’s also allowing developers to go around Apple’s back by releasing the Google Maps for iOS SDK. That means they can choose to use Google Maps for their iOS apps rather having to rely on Apple’s own mapping system.

According to Google’s Andrew Frost:

The SDK features vector-based maps that load quickly, allowing users to easily navigate 2D and 3D views, rotating and tilting the map with simple gestures inside your app. Developers can also change the Google maps view to include information such as traffic conditions, and control camera positions in 3D. Access to API keys is being progressively rolled out to developers who register interest.

Largely due to its experience in the arena, Google still has Apple pegged when it comes to directions and features. That alone makes it a much more enticing option for developers than Apple’s own product.

Looks like the Mountain View giant takes this round leaving its Cupertino-based rival reeling with its back up against the ropes.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • Thank goodness as most people with apple maps used to end up in the bushes when trying to navigate to any place of interest haha

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