So it's been back on the iPhone for 3 days now and I thought I'd give my thoughts about it and compare it what I've been using since iPhone 5 was launched Apple Maps.
Now before we start I'm publishing this blog on a Google owned website, but I'm typing it on an iPad so any bias should be levelled out there.
In comparison to what I last saw of a "Google Maps" product on the iPhone the new version is a massive upgrade, although it was always going to be now that the Apple Shackles are off.
Visually it's stunning in both normal and satellite modes. It feels very smooth moving around the app with the slide in side menu, GPS button and search bar.
Whilst at home and over wifi just browsing the maps render very quickly in satellite mode with a blurry green patch taking a a mere second to be corrected to normal image.
I must also point out their satellite mode is effectively the same as an Apple Hybrid mode, i.e. it has satellite images and road names and places displayed. If I'm honest I don't understand why Apple has kept the satellite mode, it's hardly google earth and I wouldn't use it to find anywhere.
Searching for a location or even a business name is all done from the search bar at the top of the app.
It's very simple and very Google. You get loads of choices, reviews, street view and for certain businesses inside view. This is a million times better than Apple maps which just gives you some drop pins and you have to click into screens and out to find the right one.
With google you just swipe up to see the details and swipe right to left to see other places, it gives you options to call the place, save it as a favourite, share, website and reviews all from this little card. You couldn't want any more information to ensure this is the right place.
The only problem I had was not being able to search for people I had in my phone book, you can over come this by saving all their data in the app but I simply refuse to spend my time like that, hopefully the ability to utilise the phone book will come in a later update.
So I found the place I wanted and I set off with turn by turn switched on. Now my first gripe. The loud American woman who navigates you is too loud, too American and very sharp. It's nothing like the women that Lee Evans jokes about sat navs.
I don't have a problem with Americans, it's just I'd like a British voice, it's not too much to ask, the way she pronounces a lot of English places are very choppy, for instance I went on a road called "Bridgnorth Road" and it was pronounced "Bridge North Road" with the spaces.
The app itself is very Americanised the public transport is called "Public Transit," the icon for traffic is an American traffic light and finally the one that really could confuse someone the route options give you the choice to "Avoid Highways" (Motorways) or "Avoid Tolls" (Toll Roads). Granted Apple maps doesn't even give you that option but a highway is not a motorway.
The navigation screen is very clear gives large instruction with a ridiculously small "next" instruction that you can't see if your paying attention to the road, the colours are not my cup of tea with a dank green and dark grey, personally I prefer the royal blue of the Apple maps. The maps did seem to struggle to render when I was experiencing poor signal, however the road was always strong, it was just the surroundings that were to cock.
Two major features that a not currently available in this region are Traffic and Public Transit (Transport), Apple does provide traffic on its maps but you need a separate app to use public transport, ultimately if that's what you use, I don't think you'd be utilising either mapping app to assist your journey.
Google Maps is staying on my iPhone, it's stunning visually and at searching for locations. I never had any issues from my Apple maps on specific locations, but google will correct any of those if you did.
Navigation is to the point correct but I simply can't stand the woman telling me. Her voice is off putting. The Americanises also put me off, it's not just in Great Britain that this app is on offer, all the English speaking places around the world will have to put up with highways and transit.
For me personally Apple maps is visually on par with Google and slightly ahead for the navigation, the searching of locations is poor from Apple however it does hold the contact data as a power card.
If I had to pick I'd use google maps to find the place and Apple maps to navigate me there. Until the woman has calmed down or been changed to a English calm voice for me.
Overall the fact google maps is on the iPhone is playing lovely into ours (The customers hands) Apple will have to respond and improve their app and fast, it's already being updated as we speak in the background, every time I go on different locations have improved, the only problem they have is people won't go on there unless there is something new, so Apple need to bring out something that will make everyone look again and because its a stock app it can't be done via a app update, something google can do.
Also don't forget Nokia, Tom Tom, Co-Pilot, Garmin, Bing Maps and all the other iOS apps that we have for maps, they will all be fight for us to use their maps apps, Tom Tom Co-pilot and Garmin have got a very tough job to justify their app prices when you can have google maps for free.
Searching for locations.
Plenty of information for each location.
Lack of traffic.
All of which could be fixed by app update, if google so wishes and Apple allows.
Thanks for reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts.