Google Maps Shoves Apple Maps To The Edge Of The World

Our long national nightmare is over: Google Maps for iOS has been released in Apple's iTunes Store, bringing back Google's robust and much superior map data to iOS users.

There are no download stats for Google Maps yet, but it has already been rated nearly 8,000 times since debuted on the iTunes Store late Wednesday. There are reports that some would-be downloaders can't, possibly due to high demand.

Many reviews gush, and indeed, the app seems to return all the features that made Apple's native Maps app great -- when Apple Maps used Google's free geo-searching service.  Apple ditched the Google data for its own when it released iOS 6 in September, and people have been finding themselves surrounded by hungry dingoes ever since.

The iOS version of Maps separated Apple from rival Google as intended, but the gamble failed spectacularly.

In the wake of the new Apple Maps release, Apple's CEO made a public apology and, just recently, the company fired Maps manager Richard Williamson.

The new Google Maps app features turn-by-turn directions, Street View and transit directions. But there are small headaches for people who download the app.

For one, Google Maps is only optimized for iPhones, so iPad owners will have to contend with the non-universal interface for a while. And those using any other app on an iOS device that uses map data, like the awesomely awesome Wundermap or one of the MapMyRide apps, will still have to work with Apple's native mapping data.

I don't drive with my iPad, for instance, so who cares if the interface is small for now? (Google is reportedly working on an iPad edition.)

The impact of a function-rich Google Maps app on iOS is sure to be a poke in the eye for Apple, but more important, it will siphon some map-related ad revenue that Apple coveted. Once Google Maps gets ads back in the iOS version of its app, all that potential revenue will be navigating its way to Google's bank account.

Title image courtesy of Shutterstock.