When Apple launched the first iPhone, it featured a Maps app powered by Google Maps. Every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that’s been released since then has had a Maps app — but with the introduction of iOS 6 this year Apple dropped Google Maps and started using a new map service developed in-house.
Some users have been less than thrilled with the change.
Now Google has released a standalone app for iOS, and it’s available as a free download from the App Store.
In some ways, this could be a good thing for Google Maps users. While it’s nice to have a decent utility bundled with the operating system, now that Google Maps is a third-party download, Google can push out regular updates with new features and bug fixes without relying on Apple to offer a complete operating system update.
The new Google Maps app includes some features that the older Apple Maps powered by Google never had, such as voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation.
Google Maps for iOS also includes live traffic details and public transportation information for supported location, satellite imagery, Street View, and details for millions of businesses and other location.
Google has also launched a new SDK for developers that want to link their apps to Google Maps for iOS.