10 Million iPhone Users Find Way To Google Maps

Google crows about Maps' triumphant return to the iPhone, scores millions of downloads in just two days.
 12 Best iPhone, iPad Apps Of 2012
12 Best iPhone, iPad Apps Of 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
"More than 10 million downloads in less than 48 hours after release!" said Google's Jeff Huber in a post on Google+ Monday. Google Maps returned to the iPhone on December 12, and won an incredible adoption rate during its first few days of availability.

Apple cut Google Maps from iOS 6 over its lack of voice-guided navigation. Apple replaced Google Maps with its own Apple Maps application. Though Apple Maps includes some compelling features, many found it to be lacking in comparison to Google Maps, in addition to being inaccurate.

Apple suffered embarrassment at the hands of Apple Maps and its problems. The head of Apple Maps left the company, and the head of iOS development, Scott Forstall, was forced out as well. He was replaced by Apple's superstar hardware designer, Jony Ive.

[ What do you expect to see from Google next year? Check out our predictions. Google In 2013: 11 Predictions. ]

The flub even forced Apple CEO Tim Cook to offer an apology within a week of the iPhone 5's release in September. "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," said Cook. "With the launch of our new Maps, 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."

Apple went so far as to suggest iPhone users download alternatives to Apple Maps. "You can try downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their Web app," said Cook in September.

Well, another alternative hit the App Store last week in the form of Google Maps.

Google Maps excels in some areas when compared to Apple Maps, but falls behind in others. For example, Apple Maps is better at creating accurate 3-D cityscapes that have not only good representations of buildings' shape and size, but actual photographs of the buildings mapped onto the 3D structures. The effect creates a near-to-life 3-D look and feel to the maps.

Even so, Google is pleased with the quick uptake of the new Google Maps. "We're excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world," continued Huber. "Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years."

Tech spending is looking up, but IT must focus more on customers and less on internal systems. Also in the new, all-digital Outlook 2013 issue of InformationWeek: Five painless rules for encryption. (Free registration required.)

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing