As expected, Google Maps Mobile has gained Street View photography. The move should further shore up Google as an alternative to the new Apple Maps on iOS 6, which are so inferior to the Google-powered ones on iOS 5 that Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for them last week and suggested Google as an alternative, among other options.
Google Maps, accessed through the browser, still won’t be as nice as making use of an actual Google Maps app. Google lacks an app for iOS 6 users apparently because it hasn’t “done anything” yet, as CEO Eric Schmidt said last week.
Why hasn’t it done anything? Google’s not providing a reason on the record. But reports are that the company didn’t expect to be dropped from Maps in iOS 6 and is now scrambling to develop its own app.
Google’s confirmed to Search Engine Land that Google Maps Mobile was coming on yesterday but not the exact timing. A Wall Street Journal report on yesterday had said it would happen today.
The New York Times had reported last week that Street View would be coming to Google Maps Mobile, the version of Google Maps available to anyone through a smartphone’s browser. The report cited Google. But when asked directly, Google refused to confirm this to us or other publications.
As said, yesterday, the Wall Street Journal again reported that Street View was coming and that it would appear as a new feature tomorrow. It also cited Google, but when asked directly to confirm this, Google gave us the same statement it has been giving all publications, that it had nothing to announce.
It’s was kind of crazy. Two major US newspapers were citing Google that Street View was coming, but Google itself didn’t want to acknowledge that directly?
After a further phone call with Google PR this afternoon, I got a direct confirmation. Yes, Street View would come to Google Maps. Presumably other publications could also now get the same confirmation. But as for timing, Google’s still wasn’t saying when it would happen. It seemed pretty likely that the Wall Street Journal is correct, that it will hit tomorrow. After all, the Journal was citing Google as saying so.
Our previous article, Google Street View Coming To Google Maps For Mobile, For Both iOS & Android, explains more about what to expect with today’s change. It brings Street View not just to Google Maps For Mobile for iPhone and iPad users but also any smartphone user, through the browser.
Of course, Android users probably won’t care about this change, since they can use the Google Maps For Android app, which has Street View photography already, along with other features like turn-by-turn navigation.
But for iPhone and iPad users, who lack a Google Maps app, the change might be another attraction to win them over to browser-based ones.
We’ll have a follow-up article looking at the new maps shortly.
Postscript: This story was originally posted on Oct. 3 at 5:06pm ET and updated to today’s date and to reflect the change now being live.
Postscript 2: See our follow-up, Google Maps For Mobile: An iPhone User’s Guide.
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