Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple's decision to drop Google Maps from iOS 6 caught Google by surprise

Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, said on Tuesday that the company has "not done anything yet (on Google Maps on iOS)," but that may not be because Google doesn't want to, but because it was caught by surprise. Two independent sources speaking to The Verge say that Apple's move to ditch Google Maps in favor of its own Maps app was made more than a year before its license to use Google Maps expired.

Both of those sources added that the decision was made sometime prior to Apple's WWDC event in June, when it announced iOS 6. Despite Schmidt's statement, the sources said that since then, Google has been rushing to develop a standalone iOS Google Maps app.

Even if true, iOS 6 users will be forced to rely on Apple's own seemingly largely incomplete Maps app for months. The app, which does work well for some but not so well for others, has led people to the wrong end of the street, displayed airports where they don't belong, and has even been called "dangerous" by the Irish Minister of Justice.  It's been turned into a meme, things have become so bad.

While The Verge's sources say that Google's new app is still largely incomplete and that it is not scheduled to ship for several months, the New York Times has a different timeline in mind. The Grey Lady said on Wednesday that according to its own sources, Google is shooting for completion of the app prior to year's end.

That's a much swifter timeline than The Verge, but still a long period for suffering iOS 6 users.

In either case, though, it seems that Google does have a native iOS app in the works.  It is still possible to use Google Maps on iOS 6 by navigating to in Safari and the Web app.

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