Google Maps released on iOS

After more than 13 weeks since Apple dropped Google Maps in favor of its own proprietary maps app, Google finally released yesterday a native Google Maps app for iPhone and iPod Touch designed from the ground up for handsets.

Apple first announced at WWDC 2012 in June that the Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation was dropping Google Maps as the pre-loaded maps app for iOS in favor of its own proprietary maps with the transition to iOS 6.

Shortly after iOS 6 released in September, Apple’s Maps app was inundated with loads of criticism. The app lacked public transit directions, a feature many users apparently relied upon, which in turn boosted the market for alternative public transit apps. Users even went so far as creating a Tumblr and Twitter account to post the horrific or funny experiences they had with Apple Maps. Apple CEO Tim Cook even wrote an apology letter for Apple Maps’ mishaps.

The Google Maps app is packed with more than 80 million businesses and points of interest, with features including Street View, the ability to see inside places with Business Photos, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic conditions, public transportation information and more.

Google also released a Google Maps SDK for iOS, which will allow mobile app developers to implement Google Maps functionality into their iOS apps. The SDK also allows access to a URL scheme so that developers can call up Google Maps from anywhere within their own app.

The free app is available now in the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch. There was no mention of an iPad-optimized version of Google Maps, although the app does work on iPad, it just looks like a magnified version of the iPhone and iPod Touch version.