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By 13 December 2012 | Categories: news

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Google has announced that, as of today, Google Maps will be rolling out worldwide for the iPhone.
 
The app, which has apparently been designed from the ground up, combines the “comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier,” according to the company.
 
In an official blog post, Google elaborated that the app shows more map on screen, and is aimed at turning mobile mapping into one intuitive experience. Primary features include voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation and live traffic conditions to avoid traffic jams.
 
Additionally, for those who use public transportation, the app caters to information for more than one million public transit stops. Google further boasted that its vector-based map “loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views.”
 
Getting started
 
Users can start their navigation journey by using the app’s search box. Searching for a restaurant, for example, will then offer an expandable info sheet which would show useful information, such as the  address, opening hours, ratings and reviews, images, as well as directions.
 
The company explained that the app is powered by a constantly improving map of the world that includes detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest. Users therefore, will be able to preview where they want to go with Street View and see inside places with Business Photos. This is useful to determine whether a table inside the restaurant or at the bar would better suit their preferences, for example.
 
The new Google Maps app will be made available from today for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries (of which South Africa is one) and in 29 languages, including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
 
To the point
 
Google’s announcement, or dare we say, rescue of Apple, comes after the debacle that surrounded Apple’s Maps application which was introduced with iOS 6. This infamously was plagued by missing street names, and even entire cities, which apparently suddenly disappeared from Apple Maps’ sight.
 
More recently, the iOS Maps mishap showed up in the headlines after the Australian police cautioned travellers against using the app, when reports emerged of people being stranded in inhospitable, and potentially life threatening, environments after the app led them astray.
 
This followed an earlier assertion by the Irish Minister of Justice that Apple Maps were “dangerous.” When the dust had settled, the debacle drove Apple CEO Tim Cook to make made an open apology to Apple Maps users.

Closer to home, the news of Google Maps for the iPhone is no doubt welcome, particularly to those who have the newly launched iPhone 5 in their sights, which will be available locally from tomorrow. 

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