Rumour: Google Maps launches on iOS tonight (UPDATE!)

Mashable is reporting that Google is ready to launch their native iOS application as early as tonight. Details are slim, but as far as we know, the app will contain at least what we had back in September before Apple ditched the service for its own in-house maps.

Of course, we’re all aware of the problems that Apple had with their first attempt. Funky-looking bridges, canyons that weren’t canyons, and monument markers placed hundreds of meters away from their respective monument were all daily occurrences on Apple’s less than half-baked project.

Regardless of whether Apple had issues or not, Google was poised to release maps of their own creation as a third-party download. It serves them greatly to have more people stay within their ecosystem, especially if they’re doing it of their own accord.

In terms of what other features we’ll see from Google’s application, we’re expecting turn-by-turn navigation, updated public transit routes, walking routes, and an improved 3D experience. In addition, we have to assume we’ll get voice control, although Siri has yet to be integrated into third-party apps, so when you say “take me to 123 Anywhere Street,” the device you’re on will still force you into Apple’s mapping application.

Google’s iOS app will also not be switching over any frameworks for other third party apps. What this means is any application using a maps overlay will still be based on Apple’s maps and – at this point, at least – there’s no way around it.

Apple’s application is also forced onto the system and can’t be removed without jailbreaking. It can be put into a folder and stowed on the last page of your applications, but it is still there, after all. Kind of ironic for a company that prides itself on not including pre-installed shovelware on its systems. Then again, we’re not entirely sure it’s shovelware since it’s so damn useful.

We’ll make sure to update this post with anything that happens on the maps front, and we’ll be doing a review of the app when it goes live.

  • Update: And the app is live! It looks very, huh, Androidy. We suppose that’s not such a bad thing since Android does have a nice clean aesthetic. Maps look gorgeous and are rendered far more nicely than they used to be. We’ll have a full review of the app up shortly. Until then, take a look for yourself here (iTunes link).