Google Maps on iPhone: A Hit, savior of Aussies stuck in sand or just “directionless”?

Finally, iPhone gets Google Maps as native app and not a web wrap-around.  These maps now have all the necessary features like  traffic, turn-by-turn navigation, transit directions, walking directions, satellite view, street view, indoor photos, Zagat restaurant reviews and even some integration with your Google Profile.  Obviously, the Apple maps app wasn’t up to the snuff.

GigaOm says that Google Maps has very quickly become the top app downloaded on iPhones.

Exactly how many iPhone users downloaded the app is not clear — neither Google nor Apple has released any such statistics just yet. But zooming to the top of the free charts, bypassing mega-hits like YouTube, Angry Birds Star Wars and Snapchat, indicate a very large volume of downloads.
Its instant popularity is no big mystery. It was one thing for Apple to remove the very popular Google Maps as the default navigation app on iOS, but worse, Apple’s own Maps app was panned from the moment it arrived. While it included features like offline mode and voice-guided navigation, which Google’s app for iOS did not, it also lacked integrated public transportation directions and suffered from bad location data. (Source)

And, its not just that Apple’s Map app wasn’t good technically, but in Australia it had become a life threat and Australian local government had issued a warning to the public to not rely on the directions from iPhone Maps!!

The city of Mildura is not at the end of a dirt road in the Australian bush, in tire-choking desert sand far from food and water. Unfortunately, Apple’s much-maligned mapping application thinks it is.
More than two months after Apple’s CEO apologized for errors in its Maps service, Australian police say the app is “potentially life threatening” because of the bad directions it has given to the southern city. On Tuesday, a police official said Apple had “sort of half-fixed” the problem.
Victoria state police say they’ve had to rescue several Mildura-bound drivers who were directed by the app to remote Murray Sunset National Park, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) away. Some were stranded for 24 hours without food or water, and had to walk long distances through tough terrain to access phone reception. (Source)

But in this whole euphoria about getting the Google Maps back on iPhone in a more powerful avatar, there is at least one guy who is decidedly unhappy!

Either Google should be in the business of being on every mobile platform or Google should be in the business of Android. Trying to pursue both strategies is like trying to keep one foot on the dock and the other on the boat. You can’t get anywhere and it’s going to sink you sooner or later. (Source)

Really?!  That’s quite an opinion on a Maps app, that finally promises to get iPhone users to their destinations… at least they will “get somewhere”!  🙂

Photo Credits: laihiu

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