As Google Maps Disappears In iOS 6, Google Remains Cagey About Releasing Its Own App

The latest version of Apple’s operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS 6, is now out. As people upgrade, the Maps application previously powered by Google is now being replaced by Apple’s own homegrown one. Not everyone’s happy. Will Google release its own Google Maps app for iOS 6 users? The company, in its latest statement, remains unclear.

I asked Google today if we’d be getting a Google Maps app, and if so, when and also if it would include turn-by-turn navigation. Here’s what I was sent back:

We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.

Let’s parse the statement. It sounds like Google wants its own app for iOS 6 — hence the “regardless of device” part. But it’s not confirming that this will happen soon or why it’s not already happened.

Is Apple somehow blocking it? If so, Google’s not saying. Is Google holding back for some strange reason? Again, we just don’t know.

Stay tuned. It seems likely Google will want to release its own app, just like it did to rectify with the situation for YouTube being dropped as a default application in iOS 6. The YouTube app is now number one in the iTunes free apps chart, after being out for only a week.

Google Maps, of course, remains in iOS 6 via the browser. It’s a less convenient way of using it, but it even offers features such as traffic:

I’m not sure if the message “the same Google Maps, now in your mobile browser” is a new one that Google has added anticipating this release. If so, it’s smart. If not, it still caught my eye.

We’ll bring more when we get it, along with our own review of how the new Maps feature in iOS 6 stacks up against what iOS 5 had as well as Google Maps for Android.

Postscript: Please see our follow-up articles:

Related Articles

Related Topics: Apple: Maps | Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://totalipad.com/ Christopher

    Turn by Turn works flawless in iOS 6. At least it as for me.

  • http://www.delivra.com/ Cody Sharp

    I think people are mostly complaining more about the lack of businesses shown on the maps when compared to Google Maps and the lack of public transit routes.

  • ehsan_M

    It’s a travesty. Replacing their best app with some copied app that makes you pay a monthly subscription fee for another external app to access the public transport, which is limited to one city. I was going to but iphone 5 but I don’t think I will anymore.

  • Alan

    Google wants to play hardball with it’s map app. Not give all users the same features no matter what device it is on. Then this is what happens. Personally I am happy. I am pretty sick of Google maps on my iPhone and am happy their is a competitor. I personally will be using what Apple offers me and most iPhone users will also. Yes there are people who will download a different map app. However eventually the native app will get that good that no one will bother with Google!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UMRJBOOIMADJYZKE42NT6NBWCU Albin

    Won’t surprise if Google holds back to see if Apple’s succeeded in whipping up a quicky competitor. Google has built its service for years. Microsoft failed to compete. Apple failure would be a clear competitive advantage to Google using it maps on its own products and on Android for licensees. Why make the iGadgets better?

  • roots4x

    Also terrible traffic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/saadkamal Saad Kamal

    They should hold back..:) Let people go crazy at apple for a few months..then they can come to the rescue. I have saved the Web version on my home screen as a web app.

  • Ted_T

    Not sure what city you are in, but the excellent iTrans NYC app which I have used on iOS for years is certainly not subscription based, nor is the top rate Routsey Pro in SF.

    Name names if you don’t want us to think you are making stuff up.

  • http://twitter.com/bob_love Bob Love

    “Is Google holding back for some strange reason?”

    I genuinely lol’d. Let’s see. Steve Jobs has a hissy fit and vows to destroy Google/Android if he has to use the last cent Apple has to do so, then they start suing the crap out of Android’s biggest hardware provider (Samsung), then they dump Google Maps and license a new set of maps from TomTom it’s pretty clear what Apple’s intentions are.

    So why would Google ‘holding back’ be a ‘strange’ move?

    Apple started the war. Don’t be surprised by the outcome.

  • sivigamer

    And the lack of landmarks and the lack of actual walking directions that use walking paths not shown on Apple’s maps. Apple can’t ignore the vast store of business information and roads and path and traffic that Google maps has. It needs to work together with Google or else people will opt for the platform that has the better options, i.e. Android.

  • Not Andy Rubin

    At the very least (by rule 10.2), it can’t “look similar to Apps bundled on the iPhone”. And (by rule 2.12), if it’s just maps.google.com bundled as an app, that may be rejected, too. But it is required to follow all of the Human Interface Guidelines (rules 10.1 and 10.3), still.

    Google has a very fine line to walk when trying to submit a Google Maps app that will meet all of Apple’s requirements. I have no idea how they would design such a thing, and I do not envy them in this task, if they have chosen to undertake it.

    Then again, Apple has been known to bend the rules for established brands, and Google is nothing if not a big-name brand.

  • http://twitter.com/ry_holman Ryan Holman

    No transit directions :( no walking directions :( incomplete traffic :(

    Google Maps is now on my homescreen as a browser link.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I don’t know why Google might be holding back. Conspiracies could include hopes it will drive people to Android (doubtful) or hopes that after a day of some new Maps complaints, it will be better received.

    I don’t believe either of those. I suspect they have made an app, and that it’s in the review process but hasn’t come clear for some reason. Why, I don’t know. I don’t think Apple would hold it purposely, but then again, I don’t have a proper Google Voice app on the iPhone, which seems largely down to Apple.

    All I really know is that it’s puzzling. We should have had an announcement or an actual app by now.

  • kibbles

    walking directions are present. not sure what is meant by complete traffic?

  • kibbles

    apple? er, no. one can clearly point to Google getting into the phone business while at the same time serving on Apple’s board as being the start. after all, as jobs put it: “We didn’t get into search.”

  • airmanchairman

    Seconded.

    Apple’s well-known reputation of starting low and incrementing upgrades steadily will improve Maps to the point that only whining geeks, who are arguably on the wrong platform anyway, will be the only inconsequential naysayers braying their inane drivel about ersatz points of interest and totally impractical details that no-one with a real life bothers to use anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/HistorianInMe Kayla Sonergoran

    i wish i could uninstall the worthless apple app. i am currently using google maps as a home screen icon link as well as with youtube because i like the ability of creating tabs to view multiple videos and maps.

  • Max C

    There are no walking directions, at least here in the UK. (The man icon has no effect except possibly enabling routing the wrong way up one way streets.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.morrish.5 Jonathan Morrish

    It’s ok but no street view, in UK at least. I love street view!

  • Okung Nyo

    y not just get android then??

  • MikeIP

    Except that the Google exec left the room when phone OS discussions were had

  • http://www.facebook.com/mburshteyn Michael Burshteyn

    So, guys, what is the best Android phone out there for a former loyal Apple fan?

  • http://twitter.com/MrLucasBrice Mr. Lucas Brice

    I’m about to leave for a trip to the UK and I planned on using Street View to help me locate places. I read that Google was going to have a Google Maps app for iOS 6, so I didn’t think anything of upgrading. Then I found out there was no Google Maps app and I am not happy about it at all.

  • Leo Langdon

    IoS 6 is the best reason for NOT getting the IPhone 5. apple appears determined to drive customers to Android Tablets by making the iPad worse with it’s ‘upgraded’ os!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DroidArmy Musa Abu Ayyoub

    @AlanPa:disqus @airmanchairman:disqus I bet you two have made arrangements to be buried with your iphones?

  • Smonster

    Talkatone is good google voice app for iphone.

  • Alan

    LOL coming from a fandroid! I use both Android and IOS. I develop apps in both and have a iphone 4s, Samsung galaxy s2 and s3 galaxy tab 7. So actually I am a fandroid also! Just because I use Android as well as IOS doesn’t mean I take google side automatically like you do!

  • Gabriel Lehto

    This function was one that I used most… I’m really disappointed with this change!!
    It was very, very useful for me!! I want to do a downgrade my iPad and my iPhone!! It’s a shame!

  • Chris B

    Google, above all, is in the business of selling information services and ads alongside them. On any platform.

    What Apple and Microsoft have been unable get through their thick skulls is that Google doesn’t care what the mobile operating system, browser, or office market looks like as long as it’s open to Google services. If the psychopaths running these companies hadn’t been trying to ‘go thermonuclear’ or ‘fucking kill’ Google they probably wouldn’t have entered these markets in the first place, operating systems are a major distraction, but they now have to push these companies out of the market to protect their core.

  • Chris B

    “Google wants to play hardball with it’s map app. Not give all users the same features no matter what device it is on.”

    By “playing hardball”, do you mean not calling the antitrust division on a company that won’t allow Google’s products in it’s app store? Because His Jobsiness won’t allow Google to put a maps product on IOS. I believe “over my dead body” were his words on the issue.

  • Chris B

    Apple has no such reputation, just look at the Finder. (And if you don’t mind, fix it.)

    You’re thinking of Microsoft and their Windows 2.0 product.

  • airmanchairman

    “Embrace and extend”, leveraging one’s dominance in a certain market to seek market share in another regardless of product quality is not the same at all, and is the way MS rolls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.kowarsch Frank Kowarsch

    I have a roofing company and so I pull up maps all the time plus you could see the front view of the house new apple maps blows big time!

  • shayneo

    Apple also has to be careful that it doesn’t run foul of the competition regulators. Apple has been under intense scrutiny by the regulators due to it rejecting stuff that competes with its own apps, and because its the sole arbitrator (ie monopoly) on app distribution that might count as monopoly leveraging which is a big no no.

    I think they’ll let google through but I doubt they’ll be helpful, just non obstructive.

  • shayneo

    Alan. Google has 6-7 years on apple in this game, and whilst google has a history of failed projects , maps is definately not one of them. Apple are being bonkers and have downgraded the end users experience because of a stupid patent war that has nothing to do with end users. Its commercial suicide and apple should know better than to just give up a percentage of users because its got a grudge on another company. Why do you think Microsoft still sell office for the mac? Because it knows that shitting on users of competing operating systems is not going to endear them to you. Well apple is shitting on users of a competing company (google maps) and its not endearing us to them. I’m still going to use my phone (and I’m upgrading to iphone 5 because my job is developing iphone apps) but I’m very unhappy with them over this.

  • http://twitter.com/Pierre_Vincent Pierre Laromiguiere

    I guess Google Google was making some money with Maps being a “native” app on the iPhone and the fact that the API had become payable. Therefore Maps becoming a free app in the App Store would end up being a massive cost center for Google. I bet iPhone G Maps app was one of the heavy user of the API…

  • Pierre Gardin

    Google bought Android 2 years before the iPhone was released.

  • Pierre Gardin

    I’d say Galaxy Nexus (http://www.google.com/nexus/#/galaxy/features)
    It has 4G, NFC, 4.65 inches screen, the latest version of Android, and will get software support for at least one more year…

    But if you like the latest 3D games with fancy effects, it might not be beefy enough, in which case you should get the HTC One X.

  • Pierre Gardin

    “Starting low”
    Just be honest then and call it Apple Maps beta, like they did with Siri.

  • Georgia

    Youtube didn’t load properly, so we deleted and tried to reload. Can’t even hit the button (it’s inactive). So plugged into itunes to sync. Tried every which way and even when it shows youtube on the iphone “page” previews, not on the phone. At one point it showed it was loading on the phone, but then disappeared. Grr.

  • Georgia

    P.S. I love the new map ap. Just sayin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steinah Alex Stein

    “the same Google Maps, now in your mobile browser” could easily refer to moving from desktop Google Maps to mobile. Doesn’t necessarily mean the iOS 5 native to iOS 6 webapp transition.

  • Seth Goldberg

    Yes, except the google youtube app is a pile of shit. Jasmine is the app it should have been.

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.stovall.9 Casey Stovall

    I think he meant to say the Samsung Galaxy S3. No doubt would be your choice. The only Android phone that beats the iPhone hands down!

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.stovall.9 Casey Stovall

    I think he meant to say the Samsung Galaxy S3. No doubt would be your choice. The only Android phone that beats the iPhone hands down!

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.stovall.9 Casey Stovall

    I think you got the reaction about iPhones becasue you say “I personally will be using what Apple offeres me” makes you seem like whatever Apple does, you do. Haha, the arrangements for burial was a funny comment though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.stovall.9 Casey Stovall

    With Apple being so aggressvie,I really just don’t understand why Google would make apps for iPhone users, especially for youtube. This will draw users away from iPhones for the lack of access to things (I believe youtube is not accessible via the browser on iPhones). I understand the initial revenue will be lost but you will win this fight as the popularity of the S3 is growing which will lead to more for Google down the road.
    Also, I know it is easy for me to say as it isn’t my money I’m losing.

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