Google has launched the first update to its stand-alone Google Maps app for iOS. Version 1.1 brings several improvements for iPhone and iPod touch users. Local search gets new icons to organize nearby results by category, such as post offices, bars, gas stations and the like.
This can speed up the search process if you're in a hurry, making the local search feature even more powerful and convenient. The other major upgrade is Google Contacts integration. If you're a Google account user, this means your contacts will be included in Google Maps search results.
I've recently noticed that my iPhone is starting to look like a Google billboard, and I'm starting to wonder if other iPhone owners are feeling the same way.
YouTube beat out Instagram as the most downloaded free app of the year, and Google Maps shot to the top of the charts after being downloaded over 10 million times in less than two days. Granted, YouTube and Google Maps were already popular apps people were used to using, and iPhone owners just wanted them back after Apple removed them with iOS 6. But if you're like me, and have traded in Siri for Google Search, and Safari for Google Chrome, you might feel like you're betraying Apple a little.
Then there are Gmail users and the social networking addicts who use Google+ along with Facebook and Twitter, and now Google is taking over our iPhone cameras with YouTube Capture. At this rate iPhone users are going to find themselves with more Google apps on their devices than stock Apple apps, or any other third party apps.
It's not possible to make the Google Maps app the default maps application on any device running iOS 6 or higher. Even with the stand-alone Google Maps app installed, iOS 6 will default to Apple Maps when a link is clicked or Siri is asked for directions.
There is a tweak called MapsOpener for jailbroken devices. When installed, this tweak will allow your device to access Google Maps when a link is accessed within a browser, but does not offer Siri integration.
Many Apple Maps users breathed a sigh of relief when Google finally launched their own stand-alone Google Maps app for iOS. The problem is that even with Google Maps installed, iOS 6 will always default to the stock maps application when a link is clicked or other navigational features are needed. It's no surprise that developer HASHBANG Productions has released a solution for jailbroken devices.
The Cydia tweak is called MapsOpener, and once installed the tweak will open all maps links accessed within a browser in Google Maps instead of the Apple version. iOS currently has no built-in settings that allow the user to choose which apps they prefer to use as a default. This leaves iPhone owners using stock apps for several functions where other alternatives are available.
Google has finally released a new Maps app for the iPhone after the Apple Maps fiasco.
iPhone users have been clamoring for the return of Google Maps since the release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, when Apple replaced the app with its own mapping software. Apple Maps has been widely ridiculed for giving inaccurate information, and has even become the butt of many jokes after Australian police claimed it was dangerous.
The new Google Maps features turn-by-turn navigation and the popular Street View and transit direction options missing from Apple Maps. David Pogue of The New York Times writes: "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."
Apple's Maps manager Richard Williamson was fired after flaws in the mapping software "hurt" the iPhone 5, according to Bloomberg. Senior Vice President Eddy Cue fired Williamson, who oversaw the Apple Maps development, on Tuesday. Unnamed sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Cue is planning to “install a new leadership team” to oversee the Maps application, and is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts TomTom NV.
Apple has been criticized for ditching Google Maps for its own inferior mapping software. The Maps debacle didn't hurt iPhone 5 sales, but it did force Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare apology for an Apple product. The Apple Maps mess also prompted Nokia and Google to create rival mapping apps to be used with iOS devices. Nokia's HERE app is already available for download, while Google is expected to unveil its map application in the near future.
Inside Google sources told the Guardian they are "not optimistic" Apple will approve a new Google Maps app that is purportedly in the works for iOS devices. According to the Guardian source, Google is worried Apple will decide to save face by "moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better". However, CNET's Casey Newton believes the Guardian's sources "are almost certainly wrong," and I agree.
Apple's own CEO Tim Cook told iOS users to use Google or Nokia maps while Apple worked on "improving" its own Maps product.
"While we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app."
As owners of older iPhone hardware are painfully aware, the iOS 6 update is limited on A4 devices including the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Some of the features that iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users enjoy include turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Flyover maps in major cities. Well now thanks to a new jailbreak tweak you can unlock full iOS 6 maps capability on a jailbroken iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS.
Apple made iOS 6 available on these older devices, however the company intentionally limits some features to keep performance optimized. That being said, iPhone 3GS users who are interested in turn-by-turn directions are turning this feature on at their own risk. Sluggish performance could occur because the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 hardware is significantly more powerful than the iPhone 4 and 3GS. Even though you can run iOS 6 maps on your device with this tweak, it could be slow or use up too much memory to function.
Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the iOS 6 Maps mess in an open letter to Apple customers on Friday. Even more surprising, Cook suggested unhappy iOS users download map apps from Apple competitors like Bing, MapQuest, Waze and Google.
Apple Maps has been widely ridiculed for featuring inaccurate information, mislabeled landmarks and other mistakes. Apple has said its new service will improve over time, but until then disappointed users are stuck using alternatives like Google's web app.
In the world of smartphones customer satisfaction normally rises with each new OS update. The iPhone went from an average customer rating of 6.93 to an average of 7.7 when iOS 5 was launched. However, Apple has seen its first slip with customer satisfaction with the launch of iOS 6. According to the mobile research group On Device (via Cult of Mac), Apple's rating slightly dipped to 7.65 from 7.75. The slight decline in customer satisfaction is most likely due to disappointment over Apple's new Maps app. Good thing for Apple that Google is rumored to be working on a new app for the iPhone and iPad.
On Tuesday, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Google had made no move towards creatig a Maps app for the App Store. However, unnamed inside sources told the New York Times a different story, claiming Google is indeed in the process of developing a maps application for iOS devices. The app will hopefully be ready by the end of this year. But why the delay? Google had no problem replacing the booted stock YouTube app with a new standalone app a few days before iOS 6 was released.