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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Daily Report: Apple Approves a Google Maps App

The return of a Google-powered maps application to the iPhone may make it easier for Apple's customers to find their way. But it will not relieve Apple of the pressure to bring its own maps service up to snuff, Nick Wingfield reports in Thursday's New York Times.

The release of the new Google Maps app for the iPhone on Wednesday night does put to rest most of the conspiracy theorizing that began when Apple stopped bundling Google's mapping service with the latest operating system for the iPhone and iPad, released in September. Apple did that because it was determined to own an increasingly critical feature of its devices, but the move seemed premature, as flaws in the company's new service led to unusual public embarrassment.

Mobile analysts wondered whether Google would create an app for the iPhone or allow Apple, its rival, to flail around wi thout a service on its devices that so many people rely on. After all, any long-term fallout for the iPhone could, in theory, benefit Google by making its own Android mobile operating system, which includes Google Maps, more attractive to customers.

Analysts also questioned whether Apple would approve the distribution of a Google Maps app through its App Store or hold it up, as it has some previous Google apps, to help Apple Maps.

That speculation is over. By making a high-quality maps app for the iPhone, it appears Google has put creating the biggest possible audience for its maps service above trying to undermine Apple's product. “They're more interested in owning the relationship with customers in any way they can,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.

In his review of the new Google Maps app, David Pogue writes that in terms of the app's design, “Google admits that it's even better than Google Maps for Android phones.” See his 60-second video review as well.