Google is putting the finishing touches on its standalone Maps app for iOS, according to a new report today from The Wall Street Journal. A beta version of the app has reportedly been distributed to select testers within and outside Google as the search giant gets ready to submit the final version to Apple’s App Store.
Since Apple introduced its own Maps app in iOS 6, there has been much speculation surrounding Google’s plans for its own mapping service on the iPhone. Unless Apple says no, Google Maps should be arriving in the App Store soon.
According to The Journal:
Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Google has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it is unclear exactly when that will happen.
Google Maps for iOS will have turn-by-turn navigation, a feature Google previously refused to implement in Apple’s own Maps app. Like its new YouTube app, Google should be able to monetize its own mapping app with location-based ads.
A couple of months ago, The New York Times said that Google Maps should be in the App Store by the end of the year. In the meantime, users can access the HTML5 version of Google Maps in Safari.
There have been rumors that Apple may reject Google Maps when its submitted to the App Store because of the bad blood involved. After having to publicly apologize for its own Maps app, it seems unlikely that Apple would want to make itself out to be the bad guy again.
The whole Maps fiasco is one of the main reasons former iOS VP Scott Forstall got the boot. He apparently refused to sign the company’s apology letter to customers. Now that iCloud guru Eddy Cue is in charge of Apple Maps, things are getting better. “Mr. Cue has been hands-on with the maps team and participates in regular meetings to fix the product,” according to The Journal.
One last interesting tidbit from the report:
Some Google employees have said they expect Apple to boot Google search in the future as it looks to get more people to use its Siri voice-activated assistant feature, which relies on non-Google sources of data.
But people close to Apple say the company wants to use Siri to make Google’s search engine less relevant. Siri pulls data from Google but also relies on other data sources for movie times, restaurant information and sports scores.
Source: The Wall Street Journal