Apple v Google maps: which app is better?

Last updated 09:30 13/06/2012

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This post was originally published on Mashable.

Google Maps has been available on the iPhone since the device's launch, but on Monday Apple announced its own version of Maps for iOS 6 - one that will be replace the Google service on its smartphones.

Google recently announced an update to its mapping service as well. While both services certainly have a lot in common, there are also quite a few distinctive differences between the two.


The Apple version of maps brings turn-by-turn navigation to the iPhone, a traffic view, and anonymous real-time crowd-sourced incident reports for traffic problems you encounter along the way.

But Apple Maps  will take away one feature may city dwellers have come to know and love: public transportation directions. In its current form, Apple Maps does not have public transportation directions built in. That might potentially be because most cities write their transportation in GTFS (Google Transit Data Feed). While that data is open and free to use - and used by most if not all of the transportation apps out there - Apple may be reluctant to use Google's data in the app it's using to break away from Google.


Siri gets to make an appearance in Apple Maps. Apple's digital assistant can give you information on anything from where the nearest gas station is to how much longer your trip is going to take.

The integration offers many of the same features as your traditional GPS, possibly because it's getting a lot of its power from a traditional GPS company. Leaked pictures of the Maps interface acquired by Engadget indicate that TomTom is providing a good bit of data for the service. TomTom has been offering turn-by-turn navigation for the iPhone since 2009, and its iOS app will likely become somewhat if not entirely obsolete with the release of turn-by-turn directions in iOS 6.


Both Google Maps and Apple Maps allow you to look up a particular restaurant near you. Apple's version, however, also integrates inYelp information into searches, allowing you to see a particular restaurant's rating and read reviews before you make a choice on where to dine.


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Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will be offering a flyover feature for getting a birds-eye view of a particular area. Google's will be called Tour Guide, while Apple's will be called simply 3D Flyover.

While we'll definitely have to wait until both are released to do a side-by-side comparison, on the surface Apple's flyover looks to be a bit more impressive and run smoother. Images in the Maps are rendered in real time in exceptionally detailed 3D.

Over the past three years Apple acquired three mapping companies, two of which specialised in 3D maps, which undoubtedly helped it create such a robust product at launch.

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.


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