Google Maps for iOS–the Top Free App in the App Store

Google Maps for iOS was released a couple days ago and shortly after its release it vaulted into the number one spot under top free apps. Three Google apps are in the top 10 now: Google Maps, YouTube and Google Earth:

top free apps google maps

Google is pushing its iOS maps app release hard. Even Google Maps on the web shows ads for the newest iOS app:

google maps iphone ad

After testing out the app, I must say it’s one heck of a 1.0 release by Google. The vector maps load quickly and it’s really great to again be able to have accurate search results when it comes to business listings. The design influences are simple and I like how street names stay level even as you’re manipulating views.

Some observations and tips and tricks:

  • A 2-finger gesture sliding from right to left will reveal the side menu
  • Google Navigation Beta: tap the time to destination to toggle ETA or distance remaining. You can also just swipe the top banner from left to right to see the next directions
  • Transit directions: they don’t show in the side menu for some cities; you need to tap the bus icon within a search result to get directions
  • “Shake” your iPhone to send feedback
  • Turn off anonymous location and data collection (via Daring Fireball): tap the Settings icon in the top right corner –> About, terms & privacy –> Terms & privacy –> Location data collection –> OFF

John Gruber from Daring Fireball, noting how Apple’s leadership is apparently ‘seething’ over Google Maps for iOS:

Apple’s plan was for their own mapping service to be, if not as good as Google’s, at least good enough that it didn’t make us miss Google’s map data. I think Apple — where by “Apple”, I mean the company’s collective executive leadership — is seething regarding the way this has played out. Everything from Apple Maps being the butt of jokes to the accolades and joy that have accompanied the release of the new Google Maps iOS app. Seething.

Lots of people out there speculate Google’s refusal to introduce turn-by-turn and vector tiles was a move to make Android better. But according to Gruber’s sources:

They were withholding those features as a negotiating tactic to get Apple to integrate iOS Maps further with Google’s services. (This I’ve heard from numerous sources, from both sides of the negotiations.)

Whatever theory you want to believe about how Google Maps is affecting iOS users and Apple, the bottom line is we now have an alternative to Apple Maps. Google Maps is back on iOS.

How are you liking Google Maps for iOS?