It has been the unending question ever since iOS 6 launched: when will a Google Maps for iPhone app arrive?
The question was finally answered late Wednesday when Google Maps for iPhone went live in the App Store. As many of the late-night reviews have noted, it looks great. The entire package is better than the former Apple created, Google-powered version of Maps that existed previously.
The interface makes use of white space and a minimalist font for a modern look. It shares the same design aesthetic as the new Gmail and the Google search app.
In many ways it is superior to the old Google Maps experience on the iPhone. There are sharper details and the capability to sync information with your Google account. Star an item, save a trip, or track location history while entering your Google account details.
For example, at the Westfield Mall in San Francisco the Android version of Google Maps details each floor of the shopping mall, with a sliding scale appearing for each floor. Just tap the floor you want to see and get a layout.
This isn’t the first time Google has rolled out some neat-looking features first on the rival platform. This week’s Gmail 2.0 was another improvement to its existing app and brought some greater parity between Android and iOS versions of the same application.
The main issue remains scaling of roads. It is one (perhaps the only) area where the Apple Maps app is superior. Road names appear from a further distance away, where one must scroll more closely with the Google Maps. The same issue exists on Android, though it is mitigated by the larger screen of the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, and other high-end Android devices.
Yet with this sprinkling of issues, Google maps is easily the best mapping application for the iPhone. The Android version beats it in raw power and features, but Google has clearly taken time with creating a refined design aesthetic for its iOS applications.
The Google Maps for iPhone app should reassure Google users that the company has not abandoned them on iOS, and that further innovation will work its way back to Android.
- Excellent interface
- Accurate & reliable
Off the Mark:
- No iPad support
- Jittery transitions
Image Credit: Official Google Blog