You can now update to iOS 6 because Google just launched its much awaited Google Maps for iOS devices with turn-by-turn navigation. The brand new app is a breeze to navigate and utilizes intuitive swiping features Apple users are accustomed to. You no longer have to click on those small red location pins – just swiping from the bottom of the screen will bring up the “info sheet”.

You’re not going to see any menu here, the map is the UI. The map is completely vector based, very fast, and we have the search box on top. Those are the two things Google is familiar with, speed and search. Panning around is super fast, labels appear quickly. You Zoom in, you can pan down with gestures for 3D.

Turning on “local search” will allow you to find local restaurants and businesses based on your location. Transit options are also available so you can find all the possible routes in one app window.  Unlike its Android counterpart, Google Maps for iOS does not include walking or biking.

There is also not an “offline” feature, but routes are supposedly cached once you select them. You’ll also notice that your iPhone contact list and address book will not directly link to Google Maps, so you’ll have to manually copy and paste addresses into the app. Street views are back but I was only able to find one building that was available for the “look inside” feature – which was not work the look.

In another bold move, Google has also released an SDK (Software Development Kit) and URL scheme for other developers to fully incorporate their native apps with Google Maps so you’ll be seeing better integration soon. For example, businesses like Yelp or apps like Foursquare can use Google Maps as their default mapping option.

The new app saw such a flurry of downloads that users had a hard time searching for and accessing it in the app store, though it should be much easier to download now. This is no surprise since iPhone users accounted for 50% of traffic to Google Maps. This map is not optimized for iPad, yet.


Via Techcrunch & Engadget