Google Maps returned to the iPhone Thursday, allowing users to replace a glitch-ridden Apple program panned for omitting key landmarks and sending people in wrong directions. "People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we're pleased to announce that Google Maps is here - rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store," said Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps for mobile, in a blog post.
"It's designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you're looking for faster and easier." Graf said the new mapping app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch using iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
"It's a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views," he said. The maps disaster marred the image of a company which seemed to have the Midas touch for hugely successful new products like the iPhone and iPad. Apple was forced to make a highly embarrassing apology in September for its own maps application in the new iOS 6 operating system used by the iPhone 5, and urged customers to use rival programs while improvements are made. "Google Maps for iOS" was a top trend on Twitter, and users and analysts immediately welcomed the news, some with satire.