Google maps is backCNETs Sumi Das talks to Casey Newton about how the mapping app found its way back onto the iOS platform...and not a second too soon.
-Hello, and welcome to Inside Scoop. I'm Sumi Das and joining me is Casey Newton, Senior Writer for CNET. Casey, thanks for being with us. -Thanks for having me. -So I got a great gift, an early gift for the holidays in my inbox yesterday, an announcement from Google saying that their app 4 iOS was now available in the App Store. Was this expected? -Well, there were rumors that Google was working on a version of-- -Right. -Google Maps for iPhone. People said it was going to come before the end of the year. We didn't know exactly when and then late-- yesterday afternoon we started to hear it's coming tonight. It's coming tonight and started off around 9:00PM Pacific Time, the app was in the App Store and it was safe to leave the house once again. -You wouldn't get lost. -Exactly. -You could rely on your Maps App. Now, there was a talk of perhaps Apple throwing up some hurdles and maybe not allowing it in the App Store. Was that just all rumors? -It was, you know, some people are convinced that Apple and Google are such furious competitors that they would never do anything that would provide any conceivable advantage of the other. But, you know, the fact of the matter is Apple does have guidelines for getting in the App Store which are relatively straight-forward. -Right. -And as long as Google followed those guidelines, there is no reason to expect that they would ever be kept out of the App Store. And in fact it looks like they were able to get in to the App Store without too much trouble and already within a few hours, Apple is recommending it as an alternative to their matchbox apps or Maps offering. -Which makes sense because when Tim Cook issued that apology, that famous apology for the Apple Maps App, they also-- he also recommended some alternatives. -That's right. And what of the alternatives that he recommended was the Mobile Web version of Google Maps which was one more reason why I thought absolutely Apple is gonna let the Google Maps App into the store. -Yeah, we talked about this before we start rolling but, you know, we've got this two-party system in the U.S. and we don't need to have a one party tech giants. So-- -It definitely benefits-- -We need both of them, right? -Yeah, it benefits all of us when there are many companies working on the same thing. We see more innovations, more features. It really makes things better for both of us. -Yeah, the more companies that are giving us options is the better. Okay. So, let's talk about the App itself. I mistakenly was assuming that it would look like the app that I used to know. -That's right. -And it doesn't. -No, and I think that a lot of people will be surprised when they download the new Google Maps. The Maps App that we'd all been using in previous versions of iOS was actually designed by Apple for some people don't know. The data was all coming from Google Apps but it was Apple itself that designed the way that it looked. This gave Google an opportunity, a chance to design from the ground of what maps absolutely look like. And so the user interface is very spare. You open it up, you basically see a map and a search bar and you just kinda go from there. But in early test I found it pretty into it. -It's nice and clean though. I do like that. And the voice navigation feature is something that we didn't have in the previous Google Maps version. That two Apple's credit was the feature that I did like in their version of the Maps App. -Yeah, they did a really nice version of that, a nice job with that when they build their own maps app. The good news for people who want to use Google Maps again is that Google is now giving away the same free turn-by-turn voice navigation inside, the iOS version of their app that they've been doing in Android for a couple of years now. -Okay. One minor difference would you mention to me which is-- -Is that you will not see Google Maps on the walk screen. So you've gotten used to driving around town, just being able to hit that home button when you're using Apple Maps to see roughly where you are with Google Maps App for iOS Google actually have to open it up. Open up the phone while you're in traffic and, you know, minor difference but could cause some headaches. -Yeah, a little bit of inconvenience. All right, Casey. Happy Mapping to you. -Likewise. -Thanks for being with us. For Inside Scoop, I'm Sumi Das, thanks for