If you’re waiting for the new Google’s Maps app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it looks like you will need to wait for at least a few months. Google is working hard to finish the app by the end of the year, according to a report from The NY Times.
The news comes just some days after Apple Inc. pushed out its new iOS 6 software update for mobile devices, which replaces the previous Google Maps app with one designed in-house. However, when the new Google Maps app is ready, Apple will have to approve it, Nick Bilton and Claire Cain Miller at the NY Times report.
Apple’s new Maps app, based on Dutch navigation equipment and digital map maker TomTom NV’s data, has been widely criticized for inaccuracies in addresses, mislabeled landmarks, incorrectly identifying locations and incomplete 3D views that display some national monuments very oddly, such as the Eiffel Tower. There are also some broken roads and satellite views that display nothing but clouds.
Many people are wondering when Google might release a new app for iOS. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday in Japan that the company hasn’t yet submitted a Google Maps app for the iPhone to Apple for approval, reports Reuters. “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?”
He continued: “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.” Google CEO also said that both companies were in constant communication “at all kinds of levels.” But he said any decision on whether Google Maps would be accepted as an application in the Apple App Store would have to be made by Apple. He added: “We have not done anything yet.”
“Google has historically failed to deliver great iOS applications,” writes Jay Yarow at the Business Insider. “Even if Google makes a great iOS app, it will still be limited because of Apple’s annoying limits on its mobile devices. You won’t be able to make Google Maps a default application.”
He continued: “So, if someone emails you an address, you tap on the address and it opens in Apple maps instead of Google maps. Or if you tell Siri, “Give me directions home,” it will default to Apple maps instead of Google maps. Apple should let people adjust the default apps for iOS, just like it lets people choose default apps on the desktop.”
There are several complicating factors to Google’s development of the new Maps app. Google Inc.’s contract with Apple Inc. to keep the maps app on the iPhone had more time remaining, and Google did not know that Apple had changed its mind until Apple said publicly in June that it would replace the app with its new maps app.
Another complication, according to a person with knowledge of Google Maps: Google would likely prefer to release a maps app that includes 3-D imagery so it is comparable to Apple’s. But Google has 3-D images in Google Earth, which is a separate app with a separate code base from Google Maps, so it would take some time to combine the two.
Google and Apple were close partners with the original iPhone in 2007 and its inclusion of YouTube and Google Maps. But the ties between the two have been strained by the rise of Google’s Android mobile operating system, now the world’s leading platform for smartphones.
Schmidt also said a small group of reporters in Tokyo that he hoped Google would remain Apple’s search partner on the iPhone but said that question was up to Apple. “I’m not doing any predictions,” he said. “We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I’m not going to speculate at all what they’re going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit.”
Google provides Android free of charge and allows developers to add applications on an open basis, betting that by cultivating a bigger pool of users – now at over 500 million globally – it can make more money by providing search functions and selling advertising.
“Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher,” Schmidt said, adding that success was often ignored by the media, which he said was “obsessed with Apple’s marketing events and Apple’s branding. That’s great for Apple but the numbers are on our side.”
At one point, Schmidt, who was in Japan to announce the launch of Google’s Nexus tablet here, used the device to show off a new function of Google Maps. The feature allows users to shift their view of an area by moving the device in the air without touching the screen, similar to the effect of looking around. “Take that Apple,” he said, adding quickly, “That was a joke by the way.”