Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

With iOS 6 Out, Google Has Some Repositioning to Do With Its Maps

One of the major drawbacks of Apple’s iOS 6, which is being released today, is that Apple has replaced Google Maps with the first edition of its own mapping product.

The Google Maps pop-up message in Safari on iOS

The big question now is when Google will launch an iOS maps app, a native version that wouldn’t be installed by default but would surely be popular with longtime users and would bring back street-view imagery and transit directions.

This would parallel what Google just did with the new YouTube for iOS. For now, iOS 6 users can use Google Maps via the Safari browser on their phones. When they do, they’ll see a large pop-up message asking them to add the URL to their home screens.

Both Google Maps and YouTube for iOS had previously been co-developed with Apple and had lagged behind their alternatives for Android. For instance, the existing Google Maps for iOS has no turn-by-turn directions, though the Android version does, and the new Apple-developed alternative does, as well.

Google’s statement on the matter today: “We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”

The highest-ranking exec on the maps and local team, Jeff Huber, had previously said in a Google+ post, “We look forward to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.”

So, basically: It’s not ready yet. But ever so coincidentally, Google today said that it was improving Google Maps for Android with personalization and syncing features, as well as type-ahead suggested search results.

“It takes a long time and effort to figure out how to do this right,” Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for maps at Google, told the New York Times. “Experience is important.”


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald