Google unveils mapping app for Apple iPhone, iPad Users

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 2:10pm

Google unveiled its mapping application for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices, restoring a popular tool that Apple replaced with its own in September.

The new Google Maps app is available in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, Google said in a blog posting on Thursday.

Google was widely expected to introduce its own mapping app after the new version of Apple’s iOS mobile software removed Google’s built-in maps app. Apple added new features such as turn-by-turn navigation and fly-over views of landscapes. IOS software runs iPhones and iPads, which compete with smartphones and tablets that run Google’s Android operating system.

“People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone,” the company said. “Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here.”

Critics have faulted Apple’s new map software for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and lack of public transit directions. The company is seeking to build confidence in the program amid a growing battle with Google, whose mapping application had been built into Apple’s iPhone since its introduction in 2007.

While Apple’s map program doesn’t appear to have hurt sales of the iPhone 5, it was a rare public misstep that forced Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to apologize to customers.

A team at Apple has been working to fix the mapping mistakes, focusing first on some of the most glaring problems, one person said. The satellite imagery over the UK has been improved and labels for popular US landmarks such as the Washington Monument have been corrected.

Apple, which also eliminated the preinstalled app for Google’s YouTube video service, built the replacement map program because it wanted to scale back its relationship with Google, two people familiar with Apple’s development of maps said in September.

The company’s bungled introduction of new mapping features contributed to the ouster of mobile-software chief Scott Forstall, whose departure was announced in October.