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Google's Maps app for iOS in near final testing

A new report says Google is putting the finishing touches on its Maps application for Apple's iOS platform.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Google Maps
Google Maps Google

Google is testing a pre-release version of its mapping service for Apple's iOS devices, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal says Google is "putting the finishing touches" on the software ahead of submitting it to Apple.

The software, which the Journal says is already undergoing testing beyond Google employees, is "expected to contain" turn-by-turn navigation, just like its Android counterpart. That very same feature was said to be one of the main sticking points in negotiations between the two companies that led to Apple creating its own mapping software.

The report comes two days after Nokia's announcement that it has developed its own maps offering for iOS called Here Maps. That software, which will also compete with Apple's homegrown mapping app, will be released in the next few weeks.

"We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world," a Google spokesperson told CNET in response to the report. "Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system."

Apple's Maps app was first publicly detailed at the company's annual developers conference in June. Besides a new look and feel, the main feature is spoken turn-by-turn directions, something the software lacked before. Apple's own software also adds a snazzy 3-D view of select cities using imagery captured from flyovers, something only users on Apple's newer devices can take advantage of.

Despite the niceties, the software came under fire for the accuracy of some of its data and other shortcomings compared to the Google-powered app it replaced. Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for the software and promised improvements, but so far the company's kept mum on any progress.

It's no surprise that Google is developing a replacement application given the company's footprint on Apple's platform. Google currently has 24 applications on iOS, from its Web browser Chrome, to Gmail, a search app, and Google Earth. Nonetheless, the company has played coy with any pledges to bring Maps to iOS, saying simply that it wants to get its services on every OS and device possible.

The Journal's report follows one from The Guardian last week that suggested Google could find difficulty getting its Maps app approved by Apple given its feature similarity to Apple's own offering.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. PT with comment from Google.