Google Maps is now back on the iPhone, following the outcry from users when Apple launched its own, disastrous maps app in September.
The app includes turn-by-turn directions and vector-based graphics – included in the company’s Android app but missing from the previous iOS version, and believed to be one of the reasons that Apple terminated its deal with Google to go it alone.
It also has live traffic data, although it doesn’t automatically reroute drivers on the basis of traffic conditions, as TomTom, for instance, does. Nor does it include downloadable maps. Crucially, though, it does appear to locate places accurately.
“It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier,” says Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps for Mobile.
“The app shows more map on screen and turns mobile mapping into one intuitive experience. It’s a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views.”
Google’s also released an API for the app, allowing third-party developers to take advantage of it for their own applications.
Apple’s maps app drew scorn from users when it launched, distorting images and misplacing towns and cities. Earlier this week, Australian police warned that it was potentially lethal, after having to rescue six people from a national park to which they’d been misdirected.
Google Maps comes in 29 languages and is available from the App Store in more than 40 countries for the iPhone and iPod Touch.