Google is showing a bit more attention on the iOS side of things lately. Last week, it split off Docs and Sheets apps (with Slides incoming) from Google Drive for increased visibility, and now today, the company updated its Google Maps app to a 3.0.0 version with several new and upgraded features. Chief among them is an official offline maps option, which lets you save them for network-free browsing — ideal for international travel or when exploring areas with minimal reception.
Apple Maps has had a rough time in the publicity department, starting with a less-than-stellar debut least year and culminating in recent stories about passengers following erroneous directions onto Alaskan runways. But according to data from comScore and The Guardian (via 9to5 Mac), Apple Maps is doing just fine for itself. It's doing so well, in fact, that 35 million iPhone owners in the U.S. use it as of last September, compared to the six million iPhone owners who use Google Maps.
If there's one area where Apple has an undeniably poor record compared to chief competitor Google, it's in the implementation of its Maps app for iOS. It's improved a bit over the last few months after several fixes and acquisitions, but as MacRumors reports (via Alaska Dispatch), it's still apparently so buggy that was recommending that iOS users drive onto a airplane taxiway in order to reach Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska.
Christmas came early late last year as Santa’s elves restored Google Maps to iOS as a third-party app. Seven months later, the mobile Maps has already hit version 2.0 with another stocking full of enhancements, including native support for the iPad. At first glance, Google Maps 2.0 looks identical to the previous version – iOS users were the first to receive this all-new user interface, which finally started arriving on Android devices over the summer. The moment you begin searching, however, changes abound.
Apple clearly wants to improve its much-maligned Maps app, and it's apparently drawing from its vast financial resources to take the shortest route to improvement possible. How? It's trying to buy everyone who does it better (apart, of course, from Google). As Bloomberg reports, Apple acquired data firm Locationary this morning, and now word just came in that it's also planning to acquire the transit app HopStop.
Initially pronounced the best mobile mapping solution on the planet, the reimagined iOS 6 Maps has become a PR disaster for Apple, leading CEO Tim Cook to publicly apologize for the debacle. Google heard the frustrated cries of iOS users and, like a knight in shining armor, now comes riding back onto the iPhone with its own Google Maps app, a mere three months after being banished from the castle. But this isn't exactly the same app iOS users have loved since its debut in 2007.
HERE Maps is powered by NAVTEQ mapping data, which Nokia trumpets as a “world-class” product used in 90 percent of in-car navigation systems worldwide. While that may be true, we found it little more accurate or helpful than iOS 6 Maps, despite HERE covering more than 200 countries, many enhanced with user-published community maps. And beauty may not be everything, but Apple runs circles around HERE Maps in the looks department.
Alright. Admittedly there are worse things in life, but I was pretty bummed when I updated to iOS 6, only to see that Maps defers transit directions to third-party apps. Fortunately, I already use two fantastic apps for taking public transportation around the San Francisco Bay Area, but I'm aware that really won't help you out, dear reader, if you're not from where I live.
Since it just came up in a Twitter conversation, I figured I might as well remind everyone about the biggest bummer in iOS 6: The new Maps app doesn't have public-transit directions, like the old Google Maps-based Maps app did in iOS 5 and earlier. The new Maps app doesn't leave you totally high and dry, though -- it suggests alternate apps for your location. But there's one little problem...
Fans of mass transit can now look to Bing Maps for transit directions. But due to the initial release, only Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Vancouver are available.