Friday, 14 December 2012

Google Launches Native Maps For iOS, And Here?s The Deep Dive On Navigation, Info Sheets And More

GMM_ios_iconAs we hinted at time and time again, Google has released its native Maps app for iOS…before Christmas. The timing couldn’t come soon enough, as many people have become frustrated with the built-in iOS 6 Maps that Apple offers. Even Apple’s own CEO took it upon himself to apologize for the not-so-polished product, an stand-up act which I actually applauded. Today is about Google Maps, though. The company has spent the past seven years refining its offering, making its internal systems run quickly to keep up with as many detours, traffic conditions and new apartment complexes that it can. All of that hard work paid off with this app, it’s absolutely gorgeous, runs as smooth as a video game and is a complete user experience overhaul from any Google Maps experience you’ve ever had. The new swipe gestures to bring up menus, as well as the great detail in which information is displayed are clear as soon as you open the app. Good thing, because 50% of the Google Maps usage comes from mobile devices, obviously. Now here’s the bad news on this version of Google Maps, there are no biking directions, offline mode (although as soon as you get a route, it is cached on your device), indoor maps or offers as of yet. This would seem to be incomplete, but clearly the team wanted to put together a fantastic Maps app that serves the need of iOS users right this moment. Yes, Google didn’t want to pack everything in too tightly until the world had a chance to play with it. Fair enough, but some of these things would have been nice. But yes, overall, it’s that good. I took it for a spin yesterday and was able to figure out its new UI immediately. Basically, the map is the UI. All of the menus are neatly tucked away, pulled up and out with gestures that are masterfully designed for iOS. If Apple had only waited a bit longer, this could have been the experience that shipped with iOS 6. It also complete with a brand new SDK so that developers can start integrating it into their apps. I spoke with Google Maps for Mobile Director, Daniel Graf, and while he said that Google didn’t hold out as long as it possibly could to release this, I would say that waiting until Apple’s infamous Holiday App Store freeze


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