After being ousted from iOS 6 earlier this year, Google Maps has made a comeback on the platform. However, Apple hasn’t thrown in the towel and brought Google’s mobile mapping application back as a standard application on the iPhone.
Instead, iOS users looking for something a bit better will find it in Apple’s App Store, where it’s available as a free download. As of this writing, Google Maps is the most popular free application available in the App Store, outpacing Google’s other top program, YouTube.
With Google Maps now available in the App Store, the search giant’s program is up against Apple’s Maps, an application the iPhone maker launched with iOS 6. Apple’s Maps has been criticized for incorrect information and duplicated data. It has proved so unreliable that Apple itself has said that iOS users should consider adopting third-party programs until its own app can be updated.
The best possible advice for iPhone 5 users is that Apple Maps is subpar to say the least. And Google Maps is unarguably the best mapping application in the mobile market. For iOS users, Google Maps is the app to use. These are the reasons why.
1. Apple’s Maps is a mess
Apple’s Maps is overrun with errors that make it nearly impossible to use. In some towns, map data is incomplete or inaccurate. Apple’s application also suffers from poor international coverage. Google Maps, however, has no such troubles, making it a much better option for iOS users.
2. Google’s mapping data is far ahead
Google’s mapping data is the very best in the market. Google spent boatloads of cash on its mapping data to ensure it’s both accurate and actionable for those who want to get directions or find out what’s around a general location. Until Apple spends as much cash (and time) to perfect its mapping data, its Maps app just won’t be worth using.
3. Ease of use matters
Google Maps is extremely intuitive. As soon as users boot up the application, they need only input their location, and they’re good to go. Plus, with geolocation support, the app can automatically determine where the user is and then use that for directions and nearby places.
4. It’s free
Google made the exceedingly smart decision to offer its mapping application—navigation support and all—for free. Apple’s Maps comes free with iOS 6, putting the onus on Google to respond with its own free application. The company answered that call, and now it’s an instant hit in the App Store because of it.
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5. Competing third-party apps are subpar at best
When Apple acknowledged Maps’ troubles, the company pointed to several applications including Bing Maps and MapQuest that users could download to handle their mapping needs. However, those applications, while better than Maps, are no match for Google’s alternative.
6. Most iOS users are more comfortable with it
Comfort and familiarity matter greatly in the mobile space. That’s why Google Maps seems like an ideal option for veteran iOS users. After all, for years the application was built into iOS. Google’s Maps, while now updated, is still very familiar to veteran iOS users. That’s a good thing for Google Maps as far as adoption.
Google’s StreetView is arguably the key feature that ensures the search giant’s prominence in mapping. By clicking the StreetView option in the iOS app, users can see exactly what a particular location looks like if they were physically there. Apple and Microsoft don’t offer that view. And until they do, Google will be far, far ahead.
8. The directions are spot-on
When using a mapping application, the quality of the directions is extremely important. And unfortunately, Apple’s Maps doesn’t always deliver. However, Google Maps does. In all of my experience with Google Maps, the directions are always accurate and depending on traffic, predict the right time of arrival.
9. The design is quite nice
Google did a fine job at designing Maps for iOS. The program is easy to use, navigation and swiping through the program is simple, and in many respects, its slightly refreshed look is better than what was in the native version. Google has done a great job on design.
10. Google Search integration across all devices
One of the nicest features of Google Maps is that it works across multiple devices. In other words, if a person searches for a place in Google Maps from their PC or Android handset, as long as they input their credentials, that will be viewable on the iOS version. That kind of integration is central to Google Maps’ appeal—and a key reason it’s the only worthwhile mapping option in iOS.