According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is putting its finishing touches on its Google Maps iOS app, soon to be submitted to Apple for approval. The app has been distributed to a few beta testers outside of Google, the report notes:
Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Google has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it is unclear exactly when that will happen.
A Google spokesman said, “We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”
The Journal goes on to report Google Maps for iPhone is expected to include turn-by-turn navigation, to allow users to have it function as a GPS while driving. The lack of turn-by-turn in Google Maps within iOS was the cause of friction between both companies, since the feature was widely available to Android handsets.
The snafu with Apple Maps in iOS 6 led to the downfall of iOS chief Scott Forstall, as it was widely speculated he refused to sign the maps apology letter, instead forcing Apple CEO to step in. But according to the WSJ, improvements are being made especially after the restructuring of the executive team, with Eddy Cue now leading the way for Apple Maps:
Apple has continued to work to fix the bugs in its mapping software. The maps team is now under senior vice president for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, who also oversees products such as iTunes and iCloud. Mr. Cue has been hands-on with the maps team and participates in regular meetings to fix the product, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Apple has recommended alternative map apps such as Waze and even the web versions of Google Maps and Nokia’s maps. The latter recently announced they would be releasing a standalone maps app called Hero. If Apple doesn’t improve their maps soon, users will happily jump to a native Google Maps or Nokia maps app–that is if Apple approves them.
What do you think? Are you excited for a native Google Maps app?