Native Google Maps for iOS App Nearly Ready for the App Store?

Iphone maps

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has started letting people outside Google test a native Google Maps App for iOS. Does this mean it will be in the App Store soon? Don’t hold your breath.

The WSJ is citing people who we might gather are trying a new Google Maps for iOS that Google is testing the app outside the company, but just when it will appear in the app store is still anyone’s guess:

Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Google has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it is unclear exactly when that will happen.

As for features, well it looks like with Apple out of the way, iOS users might finally get turn-by-turn navigation like those using Android devices:

The forthcoming Google Maps app for the iPhone is expected to contain turn-by-turn navigation that would allow people to use it like a GPS device while driving, said the person familiar with the matter. The turn-by-turn navigation feature didn’t exist in the previous Apple-device version, partly because of various disagreements between the companies over other aspects of the Apple-controlled app.

Before we all jump up and down with glee that we might get Google Maps for iOS sooner rather than later, let’s not forget that there are a couple potential barriers (on real, one possibly imagined) to this all happening.

First there is the rumor that won’t die (and can’t until we do or don’t see Google Maps in the App Store) is whether Apple would approve it or not. I’m in the camp of they pretty much have to or they would be a) hypocritical (wouldn’t be the first time) regarding the apology letter Tim Cook release and b) potentially run afoul of the FTC. The former, meh, they’ve been there before. The later? Yeah that’s a different kettle of fish (and a serious one).

Second is just plain, old timing. We already know that iTunes Connect will be closed from December 21st through 28th, so given the Thanksgiving Holiday next week, Google has about three (ish) weeks to get the app into the approval process if it has a hope of being released before Christmas. More likely, I think Matthew Panzarino has the right idea:

Personally, I think it only makes sense for Google to bring its A-game to iOS. If it’s going to launch a mapping app on the iPhone then it needs to show exactly how much of a grip it has on the mapping industry in bold style. Google has been doing this a lot longer than Apple, and is a lot better at it.
From: The native Google Maps app for iOS will reportedly have turn-by-turn navigation when launched – The Next Web

Google will release and finish Maps for iOS when it’s good and ready. And I’d bet it’s going to be an amazing piece of mapping tech. My guess? Mid to late January.

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