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Google Maps on iPad at last in iOS app update

Google Maps has found its way back to the iPad, with a big new update including new features.

If you've been feeling lost since Apple Maps arrived, good news: Google Maps is pointing the way with a big new update for iPhone -- and it's found its way to the iPad too.

The update, available today, brings to iOS what the Big G describes as a "brand new Google Maps experience". If you're a tablet owner, you'll be pleased to see a proper iPad app, optimised for its larger screen. Street View in particular benefits from the extra leg room.

Also in the update for both iPhone and iPad is new feature called Explore. You can find cool places near you to eat, drink, shop, play and sleep -- without having to type a search. Instead you just tap the search box and you're presented with cards showing nearby restaurants, bars, hotels and so on.

Because there ain't no getting around getting around -- to quote Julian Cope -- the app includes voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation and live traffic conditions right on the map, including roadworks and accidents. These features worked fine for us when we tried them in London, but you may find data is less up-to-date depending where you are.

Crap maps 

A proper Google Maps experience on the iPhone and iPad will be welcome news for many Apple users. Maps have been a contentious issue since Apple ditched the original Google-powered iOS Maps app for an own-brand version, complete with woefully out-of-date data, triggering warnings from the police. The Apple Maps app was so bad Apple was forced to take the unusual step of issuing a public apology.

The Apple app has improved but is still lost in the woods compared to Google Maps, which benefits from comprehensive and up-to-the-minute data coupled with powerful search and recommendations. It also syncs with your online map-questing, saving searches and routes from across different devices.

Speaking of which, Google has also opened up the next generation of online maps for your delectation, as previewed earlier this summer. 

Is Google Maps the place to be or has Apple Maps found its way to be useful? Tell me you thoughts in the comments or chart a course to our Facebook wall.