Google's Work Toward Standalone iOS Maps App Complicated by Integration with Google Earth
Amid varied reports claiming that Google has been working on a replacement standalone Maps app for iOS to replace the bundled app included with every version of iOS until last week's release of iOS 6, The New York Times weighs in with its own sources claiming that Google is indeed working on a standalone app for iPhone and iPad and is hoping to have it available in "another couple months or so".
As was noted yesterday by The Verge, Apple and Google still have over a year left on their contract for Google to provide Maps for iOS, and thus Google was caught off guard when Apple announced in June that it would be replacing Google's solution with its own Maps app for iOS 6. As a result, Google still needs several more months to complete work on a standalone offering to be submitted to Apple for inclusion in the App Store.
The New York Times notes that another challenge faced by Google stems from its desire to build 3D imagery into its upcoming Maps app for iOS 6. The functionality was added to the Google Earth app several months ago, but moving it to the more traditional mapping app will require additional work.
Another complication, according to a person with knowledge of Google Maps: Google would likely prefer to release a maps app that includes 3-D imagery so it is comparable to Apple’s. But Google has 3-D images in Google Earth, which is a separate app with a separate code base from Google Maps, so it would take some time to combine the two.
Apple's new Maps app has come under significant criticism for a number of issues, including incomplete or poor imagery, errors in locating points of interest and even cities, and a lack of transit information. As with Google Maps, users can report problems to Apple to help improve the product.