SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google Maps has found its way back to the iPhone.
The world's most popular online mapping system returned late Wednesday with the release of the Google Maps iPhone app. The release comes nearly three months after Apple Inc. replaced Google Maps as the device's built-in navigation system and inserted its own map software into the latest version of its mobile operating system.
Apple's maps application proved to be far inferior to Google's, turning what was supposed to be a setback for Google into a vindication.
The product's shoddiness prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare public apology and recommend that iPhone owners consider using Google maps through a mobile Web browser or seek other alternatives until his company could fix the problems. Cook also replaced Scott Forstall, the executive in charge of Apple's mobile operating system, after the company's maps app became the subject of widespread ridicule.
Among other things, Apple's maps misplaced landmarks, overlooked towns and sometimes got people horribly lost. In one example brought to light this week, Australian police derided Apple's maps as "life-threatening" because the system steered people looking for the city of Mildura into a sweltering, remote desert 44 miles from their desired destination.
Google Inc., in contrast, is hailing its new iPhone app as a major improvement from the one evicted by Apple.
"We started from scratch," said Daniel Graf, mobile director of Google Maps. Google engineers started working on the new app before Apple's Sept. 19 ouster, Graf said, though he declined to be more specific.
Digital maps are key battleground in mobile computing because they get used frequently on smartphones and can pinpoint a user's whereabouts. That information is so prized by advertisers that they're willing to pay much higher rates for marketing messages aimed at a prospective customer in a particular location, said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Opus Research.
Google's mapping app for the iPhone doesn't include ads, but that will likely change, based on the steady stream of marketing flowing through the Google maps app on Android phones.
The additional tools in the free iPhone app include turn-by-turn directions. Google's previous refusal to include that popular feature on the iPhone app --while making it available for smartphones running on its own Android software-- is believed to be one of the reasons Apple decided to develop its own technology. The increasing friction between Google and Apple as they jostle for leadership in the smartphone market also played a role in the mapping switch.
Google's new iPhone mapping app also offers street-level photography of local neighborhoods, as well as three-dimensional views, public transit directions and listings for more than 80 million businesses around the world. The app still lacks some of the mapping features available on Android-powered phones, such as directions inside malls and other buildings.
All those improvements are positives for Apple too, Sterling said, because the availability of a more comprehensive mapping option makes it less likely that iPhone owners will switch to Android devices.
"The irony is that Apple ended up getting a better version of Google Maps on its system by booting it off," Sterling said. "At the same time, you could argue that Google is making a triumphant return to cheering crowds. So, in a way, everyone wins in this situation."
Investors didn't see anything positive for Apple. The company's stock slid $9.31 to close at $529.84, while Google shares crept up $5.14 to finish at $702.70.
There still isn't a Google mapping app for Apple's top-selling tablet computer, the iPad, but the company plans to make one eventually. Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., declined to say when it hopes to release an iPad mapping app. For now, iPad owners can use the maps in an iPhone mode. That won't be the best experience, but it still may be better than Apple's offering on the iPad.
In an indication of iPhone owners' exasperation with Apple's maps, Google's new alternative was already the top-ranking free app in Apple's iTunes store early Thursday morning. By noon EDT, users had chimed in with more than 10,000 reviews of the Google app. Nearly 90 percent of them gave Google maps a five-star rating — the highest possible grade.
The return of Google's map app may even encourage more iPhone owners to upgrade to Apple's latest mobile software, iOS 6. Some people resisted the new version because they didn't want to lose access to the old Google mapping application built into iOS 5 and earlier versions.
Despite the app's quickly rising popularity, Google's solution still wasn't listed among the 18 recommended mapping apps in iTunes as of early Thursday afternoon.
Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment about Google's map app.
Graf said Google isn't hoping to make Apple look bad with its new mapping app. "On maps, we have a friendly relationship," he said.
Google Maps return to iPhone with new mobile app
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google Maps has found its way back to the iPhone.
Kingsley Co-op headed for history
TRAVERSE CITY -- Kingsley officials plan to tear down a bedraggled building along the village's main thoroughfare. Village Manager Mitchell Foster said an $81,655 Community Development Block Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation wiContinued ...
Short's Brewing Company celebrates 10 years
The crew at Short’s Brewing Company knows how to tap its creative resources. “Anybody who has an idea can present it to our brewmaster Tony Hansen,” Short’s Brewing Company founder Joe Short said.Continued ...
Uncertainty only thing certain about grape crop
A balky, chilly spring could be just what area vineyards need. “We’d like to continue seeing what the tourism industry probably doesn’t want, which is a slow run into spring,” said Duke Elsner, Michigan State University small fruit educator.Continued ...
Chateau Chantal's second label on hold
Chateau Chantal’s vines were so bountiful last year that Mark Johnson didn’t have enough space to store the season’s wine.Continued ...
Business Memoranda: 04/23/2014
Andrew and Amy Kohlmann, owners of Image360 - Traverse City, donated nearly $1,100 to FLOW (For Love of Water), as part of their 2014 Sign & Graphics Recycling Program.Continued ...
Glenn Puit: Right Brain owner had a vision
Russell Springsteen’s mindset about beer changed during a trip to Germany.Continued ...
Pirate's Cove putting for patriots
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is preparing a fundraiser to assist those who served our nation.Continued ...
Business in Brief: 04/23/2014
Innovative rehab; Financial counseling; Blue Cross sponsors outing. (Plus more)Continued ...
Buckley mainstay has new owners
The goal is simple for Tracy Cinco and Lance Jewett: Offer a small-town restaurant environment at their Main Street Café.Continued ...
Martial arts master gives back
A family tragedy led James R. Adkins to a lifelong quest of martial arts mastery.Continued ...
Andrew McFarlane: Vineyards, quality wines grow
John Crampton told me back in 1992 that when he and his wife Jo planted the first vines for Willow Vineyard, they had no idea of the incredible growth that was just around the corner.Continued ...
Painting by Paul turns 30
Paul Roebke’s first customers saw his name and number written on one of the 5-by-7 index cards he passed around Traverse City when he started his painting business in 1984, a month before his high school graduation.Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Nonprofit's Detroit farm work moves ahead
A nonprofit’s plans to create agriculture projects in Detroit neighborhoods are moving forward.Continued ...
Business in Brief: 04/22/2014
Gas prices up 2 cents over the past week; UAW withdraws appeal of VW union vote.Continued ...
- Sunday, April 20, 2014
Mancelona looking at options after manufacturing decline
Mancelona was born of manufacturing, but it may not be its future. Logging, iron works plants and auto parts manufacturers built the area since it was founded in the 1870s, but those industries have dwindled and so has Mancelona’s economy.Continued ...
Water contamination continues in Mancelona
Industrial boom caused more than economic bust. Industry left plumes of contaminated water, too.Continued ...
Dennis Prout: MyRA makes sense for some
Some investors may question why they should consider a MyRA when so many financial advisors online have panned the concept.Continued ...
- Saturday, April 19, 2014
Gold prices melt on China fears
Gold prices plunged this week, falling over $40 per ounce during the day Tuesday, the largest sell-off this year. Prices sank after poor economic news from China indicated that gold demand may be waning there. China was the world's largest gold consuContinued ...
Agriculture Forum: Saying it doesn't mean they got it!
TRAVERSE CITY -- Even when you think you do a good job of communicating with employees, you don't really know what they heard unless you ask. On a recent farm visit I witnessed a great example of a "communications board" for employees. The farm ownerContinued ...
- Friday, April 18, 2014
Building Permits 04/18/2014
Building permits for 4/18/14Continued ...
Assumed Names 04/18/2014
Assumed names for 04/18/14Continued ...
- Thursday, April 17, 2014
Detroit launches grants for small biz
Detroit government, development and philanthropic leaders launched a grant program Wednesday intended to help boost small businesses in the city and the two communities it surrounds.Continued ...
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines
Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business.Continued ...
- Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Renee's House of Quilting helps quilters reap what they sew
The bolts of fabric at Renee’s House of Quilting are a sunset of color even when the world outside is gray and dreary.Continued ...
Zakey owner celebrates six years in business
Nabiel Musleh’s master’s degree in international relations seems fitting, given his unofficial role as northern Michigan’s ambassador to the Middle East.Continued ...
- Kingsley Co-op headed for history