Google Maps app set to return to Apple iOS devices?


The Google Maps app could be about to return to iOS devices, as sources claim the search giant is preparing to submit a new version of the navigation tool to the Apple iTunes Store.

A Wall Street Journal report, quoting a source familiar with the situation, claims Google has begun distributing an early version of the app to testers.

The new app is expected to include turn-by-turn navigation, which is featured in Android versions of the software but has never made an appearance on iOS editions.

Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device.

Apple controversially replaced Google Maps with its own navigation app when it launched iOS 6, the latest version of its mobile operating system, in September.

The move backfired slightly on the firm, as users spotted numerous geographical errors in Apple Maps, prompting the company's CEO, Tim Cook, to apologise for the offering's poor performance.

Guest editor's thoughts:

"Seeing as it is only, allegedly, submitting the app for approval now, could this be a sign Google had no backup plan for Apple doing what is regularly does and deciding to go it alone?

In a way, it's reassuring that someone as huge as Google can be as infallible as the rest of us when it comes to missing a trend or potential risk," says Liam Quinn, IT manager, Richmond Events.

A Google spokesperson responded to the Wall Street Journal's report by talking up the benefits of using its mapping app.

"We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world," the spokesperson said.

"Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.