iPhone Users Rejoice: Google Maps is Released!

What’s that Apple? Google has you beat your ass AGAIN? I’d tell you to mail your complaint directly to their main office in Mountain View, California but you’d likely use your iOS 6 Map App to locate them and ship the threatening letter to Siberia by accident instead. You gotta love when Goliath takes a hit… even if it is from Goliath Jr.

Just hours previous to my writing and posting this article, the worker bees at Google, released their app to the tech-savvy world. And, I couldn’t be happier. As most if not all iPhone users know- and non-users who enjoy laughing at us as we clamour to purchase $$$ phones that sell with sub-par technology- the recent “mega” release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was extremely disappointing to many with unmanageable and bugged out major applications like YouTube and particularly the Maps App, a quintessential component to our “smart” phones. Suffering annoying issues like erroneous locations, poor graphics, and showing places that do not exist anymore, the dictators people at Apple, as they purposefully slice and dice all things Google from their phone, have shown themselves to be short-sighted and stubborn, cutting off their noses to spite their face. But, who suffers? Hardly the CEO Tim Cook, instead it’s users like you and me who accept that this is the best we can get if we want to continue to use a product we’ve become use to depend on. BUT, Google continues to wage war and take advantage of the free market-esque app availability on this platform and have released a brand new and vital Google Maps App to relieve our suffering.

First off, who doesn’t love Google Maps? I use it DAILY to locate the fastest routes for clients, to find the nearest liquor store and to zoom in using their street view to scope out parking meter situations before I plan my trips. Nothing is perfect, but it’s a damn amazing and FREE resource. So, as I downloaded and logged onto Google Maps App for the first time and was welcomed by the multicoloured “Google” logo asking me to log in to transfer over any saved addresses and routes from my account, I knew instantly I was in love. What does it do immediately? Pin point my exact location to the side of the street I’m on. To contrast, earlier this month there was a news report about Apple Maps accidentally sending iPhone users wrongly into a snake-infested, desert in some god-forsaken corner of Australia… let’s just compare those two for a second and then continue with our review of the new Google Maps App.

The initial locator page is simple, fast to load and offers incredibly accurate and responsive locationing as you click the little compass icon in the bottom left. It zooms into whatever direction you face your phone and reacts with pinpoint precision. Few options display on the main screen but that is the way of Google- to hide what is unnecessary until you call it up. It’s so pure and clean I’m nearly giggling. To the bottom right is a three dotted image that offers a lens through which to view your map: “Traffic“, “Public Transport“, “Satellite” and “Google Earth“. I’ll say it right now, unfortunately Vancouver, BC isn’t registering with info for the Public Transport option but a quick search to nearby and American neighbours in Seattle shows theirs as up and running: offering views of bus lines, subways and the like. Clicking Traffic here however instantly reveals current information on busy or freed up popular street and highways. Hitting Satellite (and option I don’t much use except to see my own backyard) is so fast and instantaneous a switch I think I might be trying it more often! Opting for Google Earth will automatically open the location you’re checking out in beautiful and resplendent view using your Google Earth App (if you have it installed- if not it will prompt you to the App Store to snatch the free download). My first impression of the map options: FAST, efficient, easily accessed and did I mention FAST?!

At the top of the main screen is the “Search” bar we’re all use to. What we’re NOT use to- having been stuck with Apple’s Cr-aps Maps for so long- is the aggregated data sourcing that Google Maps Apps seems to have mastered as it combines resources to guide you along your search. I attempted to search for a popular local gay lounge “1181” which is both it’s name and address on Vancouver’s gay street Davie; as I typed it’s address, the phone not only offered 1181 Davie Street right away but offered the specific lounge itself. Clicking on the proffered option, it zoomed me as if on the winged sandals of Hermes right to the lounge’s front door, told me how far it was from me (and ACCURATELY!) in minutes by car and offered 2 reviews of the establishment. Clicking on the reviews I got a short AND long description of the bar, its hours of operation, a link to its freaking website, a satellite view of the front door and MORE. Not only that, but clicking on the website for the bar I was able to view it from WITHIN the Google Maps App. It didn’t have me jumping from app to app to get all the information I could ever ask for about a desired location.

The necessary and always helpful “how to get to point A from point B” option sits nicely at the top right of the screen’s main page and works seamlessly with old routes and destinations you’ve planned in days and months past on your Google account and offers a few options when you ask for directions, allowing you to choose between which suits your mode of transportation and desired route. The ONLY thing I’d argue missing from this app that seems to be exclusive to the Google Maps website itself is the ability to create your own route forcing turns outside of the two or three offered and set routes the map provides. Still, it’s a phone so you can only ask so much.

While I could go on for hours and into much more detail, I am NO tech expect and really just wanted to give the lay person like myself out there the “Adam Seal of Approval and Review” on this brand new app as I absolutely recommend you download it, put it on your main page and shove your (of course, thanks again Apple) undeleteable Apple Maps App into some folder labeled “Do Not Touch” alongside your “Passbook”, “Game Centre” and “Newsstand”.

I am not sure if this will change by the time you’ve read this article but as of its publishing date, the App Store does not have this Google Maps App as a searchable item (UPDATE: AS OF MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 13TH IT’S IN THE APP STORE) so click here and it will link you to the web page that opens the download to this app- to be warned it’ll prompt you to open it using iTunes as it’s a (FREE) app purchase link. Please absolutely sound off below and let me know what you think be it agree or disagree, I think this is a big day for tech geeks and people everywhere with an iPhone waiting for a stable and swift way to plot your travels.

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  • Hugo

    Apple maps works fine for me. The Google Maps app is a bit glitchy for me. And, I would like to point out that police also issued a warning about Google maps giving dangerous directions (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57558777-93/police-google-maps-giving-dangerous-directions-too/) but everyone seemed to ignore that.

  • Hugo

    I would also like to point out that Apple maps has not started a mini invasion, like Google Maps did a few years ago. Remember this? http://www.fastcompany.com/1700270/how-google-maps-led-accidental-invasion

  • Ricky

    I haven’t had a single problem with Apple maps. I’d even say the experience has been better than Google maps ever was on iPhone. I think this whole thing was blown way out of proportion by the media. Nobody I know has had an issue either. Who are all these people having map issues? Where are they?

  • Hugo

    I completely agree with you Ricky.

  • Adam

    Haha well I’m glad the two- I’m assuming Apple employees- above are able to agree “there’s nothing at all wrong with the Apple Maps App” I really don’t think the rest of the world could disagree with you more.
    Who says there’s anything wrong with the app… Well lets start easy: how about the CEO of Apple itself in his apology to all users (http://www.apple.com/letter-from-tim-cook-on-maps/). Then lets take 7 seconds to type and search “forums on apple maps app issues” and watch as you populate your screen with thousands upon thousands of comments. No. Maybe you didn’t have an issue yourself, but to deny the existence of anyone who did is laughable.

  • Hugo

    No, I agree Apple Maps has issues. But there are issues with Google maps as well. The fact is, no one can expect Apple (or any company for that matter) to have maps as good as Google’s on day one, since Google has had ten years to build up their database. Apple wanted turn-by-turn navigation and 3D maps, Google wouldn’t give it to them unless Apple let them track user’s location with Google Latitude and show ads in the maps app. It came down to a decision, keep having very few features, or build their own. I think the whole maps situation has been blow out of proportion. Yes, you can find issues with Apple maps if you look for them. You can also find many issues with Google maps if you look for them (http://googlemapsfail.tumblr.com). Nothing is perfect. But in the last three months (and the three months before that since I am a developer and had access to the iOS 6 beta), Apple has dramatically increased the amount of data there. They are improving it, and to call it terrible is uncalled for. It can get better. It will. Just like Google maps and every other mapping service out there. And, I am sorry, if you don’t realize that you are going the wrong way to get to a midsized town when the maps are taking you through a forest (and actually, the official government map showed the town there as well by accident), you really are an idiot.

  • Hugo

    And I like the new Google maps app and Youtube app. Both the native Google maps app and the Youtube app were replaced by something better than what was available in iOS 5 (I like Apple maps better, but to each their own, having a choice is great). This is good for users. The YouTube app is way better than what was there before. And the Google maps app is way better than what was there in iOS 5. Good on Google.

  • Hugo

    This is a great review of the Google maps app: http://daringfireball.net/2012/12/google_maps_iphone