Just in time for those on iOS 6 wanting missing Google Street View photography, Google is bringing its street-level pictures to the mobile web version of Google Maps in two weeks. That also means, as best I can tell, these will come to the web versions of Google Maps for Android and other smartphones, too.
The news came as part of a scorching review of Apple’s new Maps dysfunctionality by New York Times tech writer David Pogue, who writes in part:
In short, Maps is an appalling first release. It may be the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed.
But also in Pogue’s review is this part that iDownload blog spotted:
You can still use Google’s maps — on the Web. Visit maps.google.com and accept the offer to create a Home-screen icon for you.
You won’t get spoken directions, but you’ll get written directions, public transportation details, live traffic reports and, of course, Google’s far superior maps and data.
(In two weeks, you’ll be able to get Street View this way, too, says Google.)
And you can install the Google Plus Local app for full access to Google’s more complete database of shops and businesses.
I’ve bolded the key part. Google Maps For Mobile — the version of Google Maps tailored for mobile web browsers — will be getting Street View photography for iPhone users. That will restore Street View photography to the iPhone, albeit not with the Maps app, where it was before.
By the way, Google refuses to confirm this directly to me. It says it has nothing new to announce in regards to Street View coming to Google Maps For Mobile. It won’t say that Pogue is wrong (and I don’t think he is), but it won’t confirm he was right (despite him citing Google).
Android Gets Double-Dose Of Street View
Android already has Street View photography within its Google Maps app, but the coming change means that for the first time, Street View will be available to those accessing Google Maps through a browser on Android. The change should also mean those using Windows Phone or other non-Android mobile platforms will have access to it. I’m checking on this.
When Google updated Google Maps For Mobile last year, Street View photography was not part of the features listed as available for both iOS and Android. Nor do I see it today, when using Google Maps through two different Android devices.
So this does seem to bring Street View also to those using maps through a browser on Android, though fewer are likely to do that instead of using the dedicated Google Maps app.
Google Revives Google Maps For Mobile
It might seem to some that Google Maps For Mobile — what you get when you go to Google Maps through a web browser — already has Street View for Android users. That’s because the former page about Google Maps For Mobile at some point was turned into a page that’s really about Google Maps For Android, what you get using the Android app.
The page used to look like this:
That was from July 29, 2011. You can see that Google was all about positioning Google Maps For Mobile as a service for anyone to use with on any mobile web browser.
At some point since then, Google seems to have dropped the idea that the mobile browser-version of Google Maps was important. Instead, today, the page is all about Google Maps For Android:
Notice the “Not on Android?” part in the middle of the left-hand side of the page? Rather than suggest advice for non-Android users, it pitches the idea of buying an Android phone.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Google go back to reviving a page devoted to its Google Maps For Mobile service, as it once had. It’s already pushing its mobile version of Google Maps seeming to make up for being dropped out out of Apple Maps, including through a new ad, as we pointed out last week.
It’s a smart move since, as we covered earlier, not Google Maps app it likely to come to the iPhone until the end of the year.
- Google Introduces Offline Maps For Mobile, Claims A Billion Users Globally For Maps, Earth
- Google Maps Fills Whitespace With Big Mobile Ad
- As Google Maps Disappears In iOS 6, Google Remains Cagey About Releasing Its Own App
- Apple Asks For Patience, Would It Block A Google Maps App?
- Local Search Cage Match: Google Vs. Apple Maps (And Siri)
- Stephen Colbert Mocks Apple Maps
- Reports: Google Incredibly Didn’t Anticipate Being Dropped From iOS 6 Maps, “Scrambling” To Create App
- Everybody With A Maps App Is Piling On Apple