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Google Polishes Maps App For iOS 6; Will Apple Concede?

By Carl Bagh on November 18, 2012 6:15 AM EST 0

Google Develops Mapping Application For iOS 6
After the debacle of Apple's Maps application, Google is apparently giving final touches to re-submit its mapping application for iOS 6. (Photo: Apple.com)

After Apple jettisoned the pre-installed Google Maps app from its mobile devices in September, Google is reportedly in the throes of giving final touches to its native Google Maps app for iOS devices, in an attempt to crawl back into the lucrative Apple ecosystem.

Google has distributed a test version of its mapping app designed for iPhones to a few individuals, before the app hits the Apple App Store for approval, the Wall Street Journal has reported, refuting Google's claim made in September - just after Apple released its own version of Maps  app - that it was not making a map application for iPhone 5.  

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It is also reported that the upcoming Google Maps app for iPhone 5 is likely to feature turn-by-turn navigation, which will allow the phone to be used as a GPS.

However, the availability of Google Maps app for iOS 6 users will depend on whether Apple approves the app. Apple replaced the default Google Maps app with its Maps app, when it released the iOS 6 in September. The pre-installed Google Maps app was built by Apple, using data from Google.

Apple's need to weed out Google Maps from iPhone is fallout of prominence that mapping application has gained over the years. It is no longer viewed as a mere navigation tool, but as a tool capable of assisting users in decision-making with promotion of location-specific data that ultimately translates into significant revenue for companies.  Thus mapping with huge inherent revenue potential; remains too lucrative a function to be delegated to competitors.

Soon after its launch, Apple Maps received more brickbats than bouquets as Apple took a hasty decision to plunge into the world of maps to generate user-generated database through early interaction with users.  Mapping applications tend to become more accurate as the volume of user-generated data increases and gains depth with user feedback. However, Apple failed to give a Siri-like disclaimer with the Maps app - Siri becomes smarter as more data is added to the initial database with use - which would have saved Apple the blushes stemming from Maps debacle.

On the other hand, Google enjoys a first-mover advantage in the field of maps, as it is more than seven years old. Besides, it has gained substantial feedback to build an accurate database that is further supplemented by Street View. In addition, being a pre-installed app on iPhone, Google was able to glean information from over 70 million iOS users, which further improved the quality of its mapping database. So, Apple removed the Google Maps app from its App Store to expedite its own Maps plans, it severed the umbilical cord which was feeding Google's database.

The current move by Google to build a native iPhone 5 app is an attempt to attract the 70 million plus iOS users it has lost on its database. However, in order to bolster its revenue stream with location-based advertisements and build a strong mapping database, which would improve the accuracy of Maps, it can be concurred that Apple is likely to keep Google Maps application at bay.

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