October 5, 2012

Google Street View Back On iPhone

Those still lamenting the exile of Google Maps from their iOS 6 device can take some solace. The web version of Google Maps now has Street View, meaning iPhone and iPad users can get one step closer to what they once had.

So how useful is it? It varies. On the one hand, anything that helps recreate the Google Maps experience is an improvement over Apple’s Maps app. Street View has always been an incredibly powerful tool, especially when it comes to traveling to a new place. Many times I have made hotel, rental car, or other decisions based on a scan of the neighborhood from Street View.

Yet it does not match the experience found in a dedicated app. Supposedly Google is working on this, and for many it can’t be soon enough. Apple took the highly unusual step last week of publicly apologizing for its Maps application and suggesting users explore additional mapping options.

For quicker access, put a Safari bookmarklet of Google Maps on your iPhone. Then launch the app to start browsing the world with Google Maps. However, be aware that using Street view is a different method than with the previous standalone app.

You must select a specific location on the map, which then brings up an icon for directions, contact information, or Street View. Touch the familiar “pegman” icon to head to surface level. Safari will then open this in a new tab.

You can still scroll the screen with your finger, though it is definitely slower than the app. You also can not double tap to advance your view; you must tap the arrow to move down the street.

Sometimes getting “pegman” to appear was a pain. It may take several taps to bring up an address depending on the location you are viewing. The map may also still hang up a couple of times, the hazard of all this taking place inside the browser.

It is a decent option for iOS users, yet it should only serve as an appetizer until a more robust application arrives. That is what everyone using an iPhone is truly searching for.

Image Credit: Google Lat Long blog

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email