JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

iPhone users hail the return of Google Maps

Date

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

All not lost for Apple map app

Despite the early flop of Apple map, and an agreement to put Google Maps app back on its devices, Apple will continue to develop its own.

PT0M0S 620 349

Google Maps have found their way back to the iPhone, and the new alternative was already the top-ranking free app in Apple's Australian iTunes store on Friday, beating other popular free apps such as Angry Birds.

The world's most popular online mapping system returned late on Thursday afternoon with the release of the Google Maps' iPhone app, allowing users to replace a glitch-ridden Apple program panned for omitting key landmarks and sending people in wrong directions.

Google Maps sits comfortably in a special section of iTunes.

Google Maps sits comfortably in a special section of iTunes.

Its release came as Samsung appeared to mock problems in Apple's own mapping app with the launch of a guerrilla marketing stunt in Sydney and Melbourne on Wednesday after Victorian police urged users to avoid using Apple's map app when travelling to Mildura.

The Samsung stunt in Sydney involved a muddied 4WD with a tent and other camping supplies next to a sign saying "Ooops, Should have got a Samsung Galaxy SIII. Get navigation you can trust". A similar stunt involved a different vehicle outside Southern Cross Station in Melbourne with the same sign. Samsung said the vehicles would stay where they were until Friday.

The release of Google Maps for iPhone comes nearly three months after Apple replaced Google Maps as the device's built-in navigation system and inserted its own maps into the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS.

Highlighted in the red rectangle, alternative map apps are promoted by Apple.

Highlighted in the red rectangle, alternative map apps are promoted by Apple.

"It's embarrassing for Apple to reuse Google's map application as it suggests Apple failed to meet market expectations," Hwang Min-Seong, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Samsung Securities, told Bloomberg News. "This shows how much harder Apple had to push itself to come up with great innovations, only for it to end up as a big mistake."

Greg Sterling, an analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence who contributes to the Search Engine Land blog, said the new application "is better than Google Maps for Android because it has been built or rebuilt - from the ground up - and didn't grow by accretion".

But he added that "it's also not 100 percent satisfying" because it is not integrated with Siri, Apple's personal voice-assisted program, to allow a user to speak and obtain directions.

A muddied up 4WD with a sign that appears to mock Apple Maps at Australia Square in Sydney.

A muddied up 4WD with a sign that appears to mock Apple Maps at Australia Square in Sydney.

By 10.40am AEDST on Friday, users in the US iTunes store had chimed in with more than 13,450 ratings of the Google app. Nearly 90 per cent gave Google maps a five-star rating — the highest possible grade. A further 9644 US users wrote reviews of the app.

"Google Maps for iOS" was a top trend on Twitter, and users and analysts immediately welcomed the news, some with satire.

"Now Google Maps for iOS is back, we can finally find our way out of this asteroid field near Alderaan that totally appeared from nowhere," said one tweet.

Samsung is also using Melbourne's Southern Cross Station to mock Apple.

Samsung is also using Melbourne's Southern Cross Station to mock Apple.

Another said: "Just installed the new Google Maps for iOS and confirmed what I've suspected for days: this is definitely not my house."

The app now sits in a special section of the Australian iTunes store promoted on its front page called "Find apps for your iPhone".

Apple declined to comment about Google's map app, but it approved the technology before its release.

Apple Maps places Mildura miles from the Murray river.

Apple Maps places Mildura miles from the Murray river.

Apple's maps application proved to be far inferior to Google's, turning what was supposed to be a setback for Google into a vindication.

The product's shoddiness prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare public apology and recommend that iPhone owners consider using Google maps through a mobile web browser or seek other alternatives until his company could fix the problems. Cook also replaced the executive in charge of Apple's mobile operating system after the company's maps became a subject of widespread ridicule.

Among other things, Apple's maps misplaced landmarks, overlooked towns and sometimes got people horribly lost. In a particularly egregious example flagged this week, Victorian police derided Apple's maps as "life-threatening" because the system was steering people looking for the city of Mildura into a sweltering, remote desert 71 kilometres from the desired destination.

Google Maps beats Angry Birds in the iTunes charts.

Google Maps beats Angry Birds in the iTunes charts.

NSW Police wouldn't be drawn into commenting on Apple Maps specifically, but said modern vehicle-mounted GPS devices should be used only as an aid to navigation and not as a navigation system.

Google is hailing its new iPhone app as a major improvement from the one evicted by Apple.

"We started from scratch," said Daniel Graf, mobile director of Google Maps. Google engineers started working on the new app before Apple's September 19 ouster, Graf said, though he declined to be more specific.

The additional tools in the free iPhone mapping app include turn-by-turn directions. Google's previous refusal to include that popular feature on the iPhone app — while making it available for smartphones running on its own Android software — is believed to be one of the reasons Apple decided to develop its own technology. The friction that has developed between Google and Apple as they jostle for leadership in the increasingly important smartphone market also played a role in the mapping switch.

Google's new iPhone mapping app also will offer its street-level photography of local neighbourhoods, as well as three-dimensional views, public transit directions and listings for more than 80 million businesses around the world. The iPhone app still lacks some of the mapping features available on Android-powered phones, such as directions in shopping centres and other buildings.

There still isn't a Google mapping app for Apple's top-selling tablet, the iPad, but the company plans to make one eventually. Google, which is based in Mountain View, California, declined to say when it hopes to release an iPad mapping app. For now, iPad owners can use the maps in an iPhone mode. That won't be the best experience, but it still may be better than Apple's maps on the iPad.

The return of Google's map app may even encourage more iPhone owners to upgrade to Apple's latest mobile software, iOS 6. Some people resisted the new version because they didn't want to lose access to the old Google mapping application built into iOS 5 and earlier versions.

Graf said Google isn't hoping to make Apple look bad with its new mapping app. "On maps, we have a friendly relationship," he said.

The Associated Press, AFP, Bloomberg and Fairfax Media

58 comments

  • Why don't Google and Samsung get together and refuse Apple of having Google Maps on their phones as it is a copyright issue, patent breach, or anyhin else .. get Apple to drop all lawsuits against Samsung and get on with researching why and how someone got away with releasing such a cruddy app.

    Commenter
    Clowns @ Apple
    Location
    Melbo
    Date and time
    December 14, 2012, 11:48AM
    • Perhaps Google gets more revenues from users using the map-location services for e-commerce. The free app would have such data base for stores etc.

      Samsung is not a software company and perhaps it should watch out from the Chinese competitions in the next 2 years. They should make hays while the sun sill shines for them....

      Commenter
      JJ
      Location
      Hornsby
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:03PM
    • $

      Commenter
      tester
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:05PM
    • I think its better if manufactures allow for cross platform compatibility, as it means that one company is just as dependant on the other. Preventing monopolies and increasing innovation and competition. Apple are currenly loosing the smartphone war and soon to be the tablet war due to their closed market.

      In this day and age with technology this is a silly approach as what people want is compatibility. All devices working with eachother.

      Commenter
      Slaugh
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:05PM
    • Firstly its got NOTHING to do with Samsung. Google Maps is Google's Not Samsung's and secondly - Google understands - and has a history or showing this - what we are all better off with choice and playing nice together (within fair corporate limits).... Apple's behaviour on many fronts have been given slap's by judges. and ethics organisations and its supliers ((latest being qualcomm) - but its a great company and we are better off actually if apple brings its stumps to the table and learns to play fair and nice with others and we have multiple ecosystems out there... not just the one... we would be FAR better of if they were two decent eco systems that gave their users choice and Google putting Maps on iOS again may help Apple learn this lesson - that being too close hurt Apple AND their customers... (and frankly - if Apple Fails - that hurts android too really - some diversity makes us all stronger actually - I ONLY own andoid [mobile] devices but I dont want to live in an Android only world !) Far better for the sheep and marketing types and technically non savy to be able to buy i devices (OK that last sentences was a joke - couldnt resist - please take it a humour)

      Commenter
      ShadowBoxer
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:40PM
    • it's clear you don't understand how the whole Android eco system works. In a nutshell, Google makes the Android OS available for free. Hardware makers then customise the UI for their own devices. The core services such as mail, maps, configuration, etc are all provided by Google. In a way Android is simply an enabler to get more people to use Google services.

      Google then makes money from advertising, selling the data they collect etc. Samsung makes hardware... that's it.

      Commenter
      steve
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:44PM
    • Why should Apple do any such thing? There are plenty of map apps to choose from. Select which ever one you want.

      Commenter
      ij
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:48PM
    • It's not how Google works. They want your data. The more people there are out there using their applications, the more data they get to collect about people. Then, they make money out of all that data. (Selling ads, improving their applications, etc.)

      Commenter
      Immanuel
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 12:50PM
    • You don't understand business. Google might percieve Apple as a competitor, maybe even as an enemy, but it does not percieve iphone USERS as enemies, but rather as customers. Therefore it wants to deliver services to those customers, because thats how Google makes money.

      Truth is, Google probably doesn't care if you have a samsung or apple. It makes money from neither. What it cares about is whether you use its services. Thats how it makes money.

      Commenter
      ShayneO
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 1:35PM
    • You folks have no clue. If what you said was true, Google would be on everything. Tried getting a decent YouTube or Google mail or Google maps client on Windows Phone?
      Exactly.
      Sure the OS has a small market share, but there are still MILLIONS of users. That’s hard data Google can use to “Be Evil”.

      Commenter
      TechHead
      Location
      in your base
      Date and time
      December 14, 2012, 3:09PM

More comments

Comments are now closed
Advertisement
Featured advertisers
Advertisement