The release comes nearly three months after Apple Inc. replaced Google Maps as the device's built-in navigation system and inserted its own maps into the latest version of its mobile operating system.
Apple's maps proved to be far inferior to Google's. The product's shoddiness prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare public apology and recommend that iPhone owners consider using Google maps through a mobile Web browser or seek other alternatives until his company could fix the problems. Cook also replaced the executive in charge of Apple's mobile operating system after the company's maps became a subject of widespread ridicule.
Among other things, Apple's maps misplaced landmarks, overlooked towns and sometimes got people horribly lost. In a particularly egregious example flagged this week, Australian police derided Apple's maps as "life-threatening" because the system was steering people looking for the city of Mildura into a sweltering, remote desert 44 miles from the desired destination.
Google is hailing its new iPhone app as a major improvement from the one evicted by Apple.
The additional tools in the free iPhone mapping app include turn-by-turn directions. Google's new iPhone mapping app also will offer its street-level photography of local neighborhoods for the first time on Apple's mobile operating system, as well as three-dimensional views, public transit directions and listings for more than 80 million businesses. The iPhone app still lacks some of the mapping features available on Android-powered phones, such as directions in malls and other buildings.
There still isn't a Google mapping app for Apple's top-selling tablet computer, the iPad, but the company plans to make one eventually. Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., declined to say when it hopes to release an iPad mapping app. For now, iPad owners can use the maps in an iPhone mode. That won't be the best experience, but it still may be better than Apple's maps on the iPad.
Google Maps vs. Apple Maps vs. Nokia Maps