Google Maps finds its way back to iPhone

Dylan Stableford
December 13, 2012

Our long international nightmare is over.

Three months after Apple launched a new operating system that stripped the popular Google Maps app from the iPhone in favor of one of its own—a move it has since apologized for—Apple formally approved the search giant's app. Frustrated Apple Maps users can now download Google Maps from the App Store.

"People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on the iPhone," Daniel Graf, the director of Google Maps for Mobile, wrote on the company's blog on Wednesday while announcing the rollout.

That's not hyperbole. Complaints about Apple's unreliable maps app mounted almost immediately after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company launched the iPhone 5 and the iOS in September. A week later, the company's chief executive, Tim Cook, issued a public apology and fired the developer responsible for the maps blunder.

"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," Cook wrote. "With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better." Cook reminded users that they could create a shortcut to Google Maps through the iPhone's mobile Web browser, but this did little to allay concerns.

Earlier this week, police in Australia urged motorists not to rely on Apple's maps app after several people using its directions became stranded in a national park in scorching heat. One man was stranded for 24 hours, police said.

According to Graf, the updated Google Maps app includes "a sharper-looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views."

Since its official launch late Wednesday, Google Maps is already ranked at the top of the App Store's free apps list.