Apple Alarm: New Google Maps is Here!

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has made its next move in the navigation turf war with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — releasing a brand new standalone Maps app for iOS with turn-by-turn navigation, Street View, and transit information. Several Apple users had been waiting for the launch after the iPhone maker removed the older version of Google Maps from its mobile devices along with the release of iOS 6 in September.

The Story Behind the Apps

The new Google Maps app is available in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, the company said in a blog post. The current version is built for the iPhone and iPod touch, and an iPad release is expected shortly.

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“People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone,” the company said in on its blog. “Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here.”

The search giant had not publicly admitted to be working on the app following Apple’s shunning, but it was widely expected to launch it before the end of the year. Google’s original maps app was a built-in feature of iOS devices since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. However, with local search information becoming increasingly important to advertisers and considering the growing rivalry of Google’s Android mobile platform to iOS, Apple recently decided to go in-house.

Apple’s maps app, released in September, did not fare well, though.

Critics said its data was faulty and search unreliable, and the lack of public transit directions and the absence of anything remotely similar to Google Street View was universally criticized. Apple chief executive Tim Cook even had to issue a public apology and tell users that a much-improved update was on its way.

Who Wins?

To its in-house app, Apple had added features such as turn-by-turn navigation and fly-over views of landscapes into its program. Google’s new app, newly built with vector-based graphics, brings back Street View, and adds Google Earth to offer Apple Flyover-like 3D views of buildings.

“It’s embarrassing for Apple to reuse Google’s map application as it suggests Apple failed to meet market expectations,” Samsung Securities analyst Hwang Min-Seong told Bloomberg. “This shows how much harder Apple had to push itself to come up with great innovations, only for it to end up as a big mistake.”

Up next: Apple’s move.

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