Google on Wednesday, released a much sought after software update for the iPhone, the newer iPod Touch models and the iPad. The major change with this iOS 6 update was that the ubiquitous Google Maps application which had been around on the iPhone ever since its debut back in 2007 has been completely replaced with Apple’s own iOS Maps – and that doesn’t seem to have have gone well with most users.
While most users seem to like the overall look and feel of the application, it is being widely criticized to be features wise and details wise inferior to Google Maps. The product also seems unfinished at times with a lot of bugs being already reported. Principal among them is its in-town navigation feature that at times pulls up results for a totally different city. As of now, there is also no in built feature that informs user about local public transportation options.
The contract for licensing Google Maps on iOS was signed for a period of five years. Both the companies chose not to renew the same thanks to Google’s increasing competitiveness and the fact that it owns Android – iOS’ chief competitor. For the same reason, Apple had started to to work on its own Maps application for quite some time. It had acquired no less than three companies that were in to the Mapping industry to ensure that it’s final product which landed on Wednesday was a viable replacement for Google Maps. That however seems to be not the case – at least from what we are seeing from initial reactions.
On the brighter side, users have welcomed the new UI of the maps and the new features that include spoken turn by turn directions and the graphically cool “Flyover’ feature that offers 3D birds eyeview of major buildings in cities.
We hope to do a review of the new iOS 6 Maps soon. I would need a little help from my colleague Tassavur for that, though. Watch this space!