Google Maps for iPhone – what we think of the app
What is Google Maps for iPhone?
Since Apple stripped Google Maps out of its operating system and replaced it with its own Apple Maps, many have been unhappy with the mapping service on the latest iPhone software. This newly designed app puts Google Maps back in the iPhone, restoring features like Street View, as well as adding new features such as turn-by-turn navigation.
The app doesn’t make Google Maps the default mapping software like on previous versions of the iPhone, but it does give you full access to Google’s service without having to access it through a web browser.
Google Maps is free to download from Apple’s App Store.
What’s new in Google Maps for iPhone?
As well as restoring popular features like Google Street View and all the point of interest information (so you can find businesses with up-to-date information) there are some new features that weren’t previously available on the iPhone version of Google Maps.
Turn by turn navigation
Available through Apple Maps and Google Maps on Android, this is the first time Google has added sat-nav-style directions to the iPhone. Directions are clear and seem to work well, making it a true alternative to Apple’s service. As well as offering driving directions you can set it to provide walking directions - although it does say these should be followed with caution as they are still being developed.
Faster loading maps
This new app introduces vector based maps, which use less data and load a lot faster. Apple uses vector based maps in its own service and the new Google Maps certainly seems fast at loading, provided the connection is reasonable.
When you search for a particular place, such as a restaurant, the app provides a selection of information including user reviews, contact information and the street view of the building. You also can quickly get directions either on foot, by public transport or by car.
Google has redesigned the app, providing easy access to many of its features and quickly allowing you to switch between a satellite view or overlay traffic information over the map. It also allows you to sign into your Google account and set a home and work address, making adding directions of common trips faster to add – although some will want to remain logged out for privacy concerns.
Is it better than Apple Maps?
In a word, yes. It is more accurate (which when it comes down to it is the important thing) has more public transport information and has more features. Personally I also find it much easier to use and better designed than Apple’s effort. It doesn’t have some features, such as flyover for providing a 3D view of a city, but it does feature Street View, and it’s pretty obvious which of these is going to be more useful when you are trying to find a particular address.
If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch you should download it, as soon as possible (or at least as soon as you have a wi-fi connection) – it’s better than all the alternatives.
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