Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is distributing a test version of a standalone iOS Maps app to users outside the company, suggesting that the application may soon be headed to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) for approval for the App Store. Google has been putting the finishing touches to the app, though it’s still unclear when it will be ready for release, The Wall Street Journal said.
“We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world,” a Google spokesman told The WSJ. “Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”
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The app will reportedly feature turn-by-turn navigation, the lack of which was apparently one of the main reasons Apple decided to create its own maps navigation and end its long-standing partnership with Google. While Apple’s homegrown replacement has standout features such as the Flyover 3D technology, users and critics alike have criticized the program for lacking details, its often-wrong data, and lack of features like Street View and transit options.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook was eventually forced to apologize publicly for the new maps program, a move that apparently also eventually led to the ouster of iOS chief Scott Forstall, who refused to sign the apology letter. Cook also promised improvements to the app and Apple has continued to fix the bugs and add new data.
Apple and Google, global smartphone platform rivals, have lately been bickering over patents and partnerships. Apple also removed Google’s YouTube app from iOS a few months ago, before the search company created a standalone app for the video website. The new YouTube application is now one of the most downloaded programs on iOS and is expected to give Google a big revenue boost.
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