September 20, 2012
Google Maps To Battle Apple With New Features
Now that Google Maps has officially been shown the exit from iOS, Google is quickly cranking out features for its Android app.
Google Maps for Android now features interior shots of businesses, making it easy to find the gaming section of the local electronics store. You can also now enable your web history for more accurate suggestions when searching. If you perform a search on the Android app, it will quickly offer places you have visited or tried to find before.
As often is the case with Google, the new features are slightly disconcerting regarding your data, but extremely useful. It also provides one distinct advantage that Google Maps now offers over Apple’s new maps app: a consistent experience across devices. Search for and save a set of directions when on your computer then quickly retrieve it from an Android phone. Certain businesses now have an interior map, which is rather useful for locating a specific section inside of a store instead of aimless wandering.
This is the opening salvo in what will likely be a long battle between Google and Apple over map usage. When Apple pushed out iOS 6 yesterday, its new Maps app replaced the old version, which was powered by Google Maps.
Google has hinted that it could be releasing a new maps application for iOS, but it has yet to confirm this. It would be a wise move; Google makes its money by getting people to use its products regardless of platform. While the company will likely pay the most attention to improving its Maps feature on Android, look for it to reach out to iOS users as well.
After using the new Apple Maps app for a while, it was on par with most Apple applications: visually impressive, lots of great touches (my favorite was the state-specific highway signs), yet missing features. Power maps users will particularly be frustrated by the lack of transit directions and StreetView. Over time Apple’s maps will probably catch up with some of these capabilities, but it is new to the game and will need time to amass more data.
To win more users to Android or create more demand for a Google Maps iOS app, the company will need to continue to impress with new features. Look for Google to not sit idly by and be willingly expelled from the hottest phone on the market.
Image Credit: Google Lat Long Blog