For all the lost and lonely iPhone users among us, take cheer – Google Maps is back and ready to kick the butt of Apple Maps to the gutter. As if the media hasn’t done that already – in a savage blast of criticism so heavy it took out an unrepentant Apple executive, mobile apps chief Scott Forstall.
Launched last evening in Apple’s App Store, the new, pin-point accurate and free-for-the-taking Google Maps improves on the version Apple used to include in its’ iOS before version 6. The most significant upgrade is voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, a feature Google previously served up for just Android based mobile devices.
The trade-off is that Google Maps doesn’t take voice commands via Siri, as is integrated with Apple Maps. We suspect most will be able to live without Miss Direction’s so-so performance.
Google Maps also goes its own way with Street Views, public transit mapping, walking directions, switchable home/work start points and Zagat (instead of Yelp) dining listings - which this morning wanted to send me to an Indian restaurant a mile and a half away from home, instead of a decent one that’s just four blocks removed . Picky, picky, picky.
The new Google Maps also plays nicely on an iOS 6-upgraded iPad, though in the partial-screen (mobile app floating on a bigger display) format.