Google Maps vs Apple Maps comparison
It’s been months since Apple released iOS 6 killing Google Maps in favor of its own Apple Maps. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s official explanation was that the company wanted to add things like turn-by-turn navigation, voice integration and flyover, but while those are worthy reasons it seems like Apple just did not have good enough data for the back end. Google in contrast has spent tons of money and has a huge team working on Maps for years, and it is hard to expect Apple to work out miracles in the short time they’ve had.
Interface and design
But it is not just the back-end (we’ll speak more on this later), let’s start with the design of the brand new Google Maps for iOS. The application has been completely remade with a clean, gesture-based, intuitive interface. No useless buttons, almost all of the screen estate is used by Google Maps.
A swipe from right to the left in the bottom part of the screen, or just a two-finger swipe to the left brings up four toggles. There you can switch between maps and satellite view, turn on or off traffic and public transit indications.
When you select a particular place a swipe up from the bottom brings up the address along with contacts and user reviews, all very elegant, very intuitive and simple.
Compare this with Apple Maps, and its interface with no gesture support seems outdated (however still functional).
The maps themselves are vector-based in both Google’s and Apple’s case, and load very quickly. Google however seems to have managed to somehow optimize its app so it seems like the new Maps load even quicker than Apple Maps.
Overall, interface is a clear win for Google Maps, which shows us how Google is now more often leading the way in terms of mobile software design while Apple has to catch up.
- Google Maps 1 vs 0 Apple Maps
Search, points of interest
Apple Maps search does not work as well as the one on Google Maps (Google Maps is on the left, Apple Maps - on the right)
The place is on Apple Maps, though, so what happened? Two important things. First, you just have to be way more specific - Apple’s search algorithms work differently. We managed to find it only after changing the search query to ‘Silo, NY.’
Interestingly enough, search on Apple Maps is also much more context dependent. While in Google Maps you can be looking at a map of, say, Berlin (the one in Germany, not on the South Pole!) and out of the blue search for your favorite NYC lunch place, you’d get results. Apple’s app works differently.
If you are viewing that same map of Berlin on Apple Maps, the search just won’t find that New York lunch spot. However, if you are viewing a map of New York on Apple Maps, and then look up that same NY cafe, it would actually show up.
And then come less known points of interest, and challenges like locations outside the United States. We tried looking up a popular restaurant chain in Europe and Google was spot on bringing us all of the restaurants in a particular city. Apple? Could not find a single one.
The more we searched for things, the more it became apparent what a huge gap there is between Google and Apple when it comes to actual places.
Even when it does find places, Apple Maps needs more context in searches, but most often it just would not find them. All of this is a huge frustrating for users, and that’s why searching is definitely an area we see Google as a clear winner.
- Google Maps 1 vs 0 Apple Maps
The accent here is on United States. Yelp is simply a great platform for the U.S., and in most cases it gives you a better user review of a place than Google Maps user comments can. However, you still need to download the Yelp app to be able to read the full reviews, and that somewhat breaks the integrity of the experience. Google Maps on the other hand has everything in one place, but everything means less opinions and less insightful opinions.
Outside the U.S., though, Yelp becomes largely irrelevant. Things change drastically in Google’s favor. If you happen to travel a lot, you’d be much better off with Google Maps’ user reviews.
Ultimately, we feel this one is a draw. Apple Maps integration with Yelp makes it the better platform for the United States, but for all other places on our beautiful planet Google is far ahead.
- Google Maps 0.5 vs 0.5 Apple Maps
Directions and Navigation
Directions differ slightly in the interface, but both apps do a decent job at them. However, the backend of more accurate maps and tons of more points of interest on Google definitely puts it in a much more favorable position.
Not just that, Apple’s solution does not have public transit information. Ironically, when you tap on the public transit option in Apple Maps it suggests you to open Google Maps for that.
If we try to overlook that, though, it’d be a draw.
Those four things round up what we think is essential to a maps application. However both Google and Apple have not stopped there and are adding more information to make the experience better.
First, Apple Maps. The company takes pride in its Flyover feature and we love it. It shows a 3D-like (isometric) view of major cities, as if you are looking at them from a helicopter up in the sky. You can fly around buildings, take a look from all sides, and it looks gorgeous. On the downside, the feature is only available for only the central areas of a few large cities like New York. Siri integration is also a benefit you get with using Apple Maps.
Google Maps lacks those particular features, but it brings its famous street view which seems far more useful. Street View is available in a ton of locations across the globe, and in some areas you even get inside view of restaurants and other points of interest. You also have the indoor view for around 100,000 businesses, which is an awesome addition in case you want to actually look inside say a restaurant before you go there.
When it comes to offline maps, they are a no-go on Google Maps, but once you select a route, it is pre-cached so you needn't worry about your connection dropping halfway.
- Google Maps 0.5 vs 0.5 Apple Maps
With a brilliant gesture-based interface, no distracting ads, full on public transit information that Apple Maps lacks, and voice turn-by-turn guidance, Google Maps is the best maps application we have seen up to date, hands down.
Compared to Apple Maps, it is a no brainer - Google Maps is better in virtually every aspect, especially looking from a global perspective. If you live in the United States, though, the disparity between the two narrows. It is still there, but with Yelp reviews integration, better documented locations, Flyover for many cities, the U.S. is one place where Apple Maps could be used.
Weirdly enough, we like Google Maps for iPhone more than Google’s own Android Maps application.
It is not perfect though. It does not have full offline maps support, an area that Nokia still claims its own on Windows Phone. It is also not designed to work with the iPad. We really hope Google changes the latter soon.
If you own an iPhone, though, you should definitely take a look at Google Maps. This could one day save your life, you know.
- Google Maps 4 vs 1 Apple Maps
Google Maps for iPhone Fullscreen
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Google Maps for iPhone
10. ahmed_ali_yossef2010 (Posts: 154; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
apple fly over is awesome but when we come to information and satellite it's turn to aweful
62. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
hmmm .. it's good if one is commuting on sesna which is rare as most use roads :)
68. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Gee, how could Apple Maps not win with their horrible info and misleading landscape colors?!?
13. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Why do we even need a comparison? lol
Google Maps = Legit
Apple Maps = Flaky
14. MeoCao (unregistered)
Google Maps for iOS - Apple Maps: 4 - 1
Google Maps for iOS - Google Maps for Android: 5 - 0
The reality is hard sometimes.
29. AmitMajumder (Posts: 79; Member since: 21 May 2012)
I don't understand, Why Google always give their best apps to iOS whereas Apple never gives a sh*t to Android? And its for free???
40. AmitMajumder (Posts: 79; Member since: 21 May 2012)
How much money do they make if the app is free?
48. random1204 (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 May 2010)
That depends on the amount of ads in the app. Google gets paid a lot for free apps, actually.
64. lyndon420 (Posts: 1641; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)
We already have a good nav app. Google is always making improvements to their services and probably have some nice updates baking for their nav app. Seeing as people were almost dieing from using apple maps, Google most likely jumped on the opportunity to help people in desperate need and at the same time try out their newest version of the app before we get it...you know...to make sure its perfect for us.
I like how the public transportation on apple's app suggests you use Google's.
57. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 819; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
You beat me to it.
Google's Android team is really lacking when it comes to the stock apps. This new maps app is much better than the one on Android :(
16. Mxyzptlk (limited) (Posts: 2846; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Google maps has been around for a long time so it has had years of improvement. It was not perfect when it was released.
24. MeoCao (unregistered)
Google was the pioneer so mistakes and errors were enevitable.
Apple is a copycat so it must be perfect or close to perfect.
You just can't compare the pioneer and a copycat.
28. MeoCao (unregistered)
For the global scale and investment of the maps Google is the pioneer, Nokia started making the maps after Google and the scale cannot compare to Google Maps.
38. MeoCao (unregistered)
can u back it up?
41. MeoCao (unregistered)
Just called, Nokia said it was Google the pioneer.
They also said they have troubles selling Lumia 920 so leave them in peace.
33. noim1 (Posts: 286; Member since: 15 May 2012)
MAkes me laugh ..how apple just makes a MAP app in just short months & call it "powerful & extraordinary"...come on they did not even mention the "Beta" tag ..
when you open the app 1st time they should have included a Disclaimer :
"The Maps app is in primary stage.we advise you to use it with caution.you might find yourself Lost or in another restaurant (if u have a DATE).If so we we cannot be blamed or b tangled in a lawsuit.Please have your eyes open & stay safe"
63. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
What you don't see is Google was "developing & innovating" while Apple was just doing "Copying And Makeover" ... there's a huge difference between the two approaches so Apple Maps failure should be compared with Google Maps ... but i guess it's difficult to understand :)
52. AnTuTu (Posts: 599; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
Father is always father hence proved by Google and learned by fruit..!!
2. sorcio46 (Posts: 392; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Nailed It, Finally Google maps is back on iOS ;-)
31. noim1 (Posts: 286; Member since: 15 May 2012)
iPeople feel relief !!...Google just saved you from getting Lost .....this is a good way to show how Google works...& they r the BEST !!!
3. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
This must be a joke right??
iMaps compared to Google maps??? Phulezzzz...
Try this PA, search "Google" on iMaps...might actually point you somewhere!
5. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Phuleeez is actually fuleeez. Try puhleeez instead, and you're right apples not ready for this battle yet.
7. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Ok...so now you're going to correct me on how to spell since there's nothing you can do?
I'll type the way i want...you even understood it!
11. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
What do you mean nothing I can do? Dude I was just kidding with you lighten up bro
12. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Will this ":)" do??
Darkk...what's making you soft these days??
You should change your name to LighttJedii!! :D
4. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Outside of turn by turn which works flawlessly on iOS, there isn't a comparison yet. Apple has work to do to catch google maps. Which it will n time due to the world only bring so big.
6. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Turn by turn works flawlessly, but it turns you to the wrong destination. What good is that?
8. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
"Apple has work to do to catch Google maps. Which it will n time due to the world only bring so big"
Try saying that to others yourself next time!
19. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Nathan proper grammar please, Ted you're dead wrong, Proto u missed my point...completely.
26. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
I'm dead wrong? So Tim Cook apologized and recommended people use other alternatives why? Just on a whim? Google Maps surged to the number one spot in the App Store in a few hours because people are so satisfied with Apple Maps?
27. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
That was t due to turn by turn Einstein. Please do your research before you run your big mouth
43. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
It was due to poor data, leading to wrong destinations. So my original point stands - flawless turn by turn is useless if you are not being taken to the right destination. It's not my fault you're not bright enough to make that connection.
51. darkkjedii (Posts: 9300; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Turn by turn directions is flawless on iOS6 regardless to what you say
56. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
And 1080p is flawless on my HDTV. Unfortunately, I have no cable, antenna or player to hook up to it.
Isn't my 1080p useful?
30. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2964; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
In case you didn't notice...i just copied and pasted what you typed up there.
Proper grammer yourself.
9. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Google has a much bigger feedback network, among other things, it is by far one of the best there is, if not the best
17. asulect (Posts: 130; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)
I was testing Google maps on ios this morning. It does not look like the IOS version of Google Maps is vector based. It zooms in, zooms out, and pans much slower than Apple maps. I believe this version of Google Maps is Raster based just like the original maps on IOS 5 or older.
20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5282; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
"I believe this version of Google Maps is Raster based..."
Who cares? Certainly not the users who have made gMaps the number 1 free app on the App Store today. Usability and accuracy won out over vector vs. raster.
22. asulect (Posts: 130; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)
Yeah, raster based is much slower and and will eat up a lot of data cellular if you dont' have unlimited data plan in which people who has iphone should be able to afford.
21. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Apple.. now with even more google.
Guys, just get a darn android device already. lol. iOS couldnt exist without heavy Google integration. Apple has proven that every time they try to get rid of it.
Android, less smug, more google.
35. poopsicle (Posts: 3; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Ummm probably because Android is the buggiest OS on the market.
I'm no Apple fanboy, I recently went back to android with an LG Optimus G and that thing had more buggy issues in the month I used it than the year I've had an iPhone.
Apps on iOS are just built better, plain and simple. I can't have widgets? Don't care. I can't load a side APK of a paid app and get it for free? Don't care, I'm not a stiff with paying .99 cents for an app that works well.
42. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1471; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
Thats because you made the mistake of getting an LG Optimus. Get a real Android device...You are correct about iOS "plain and simple" Plain being the keyword
46. tedkord (Posts: 3934; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Not a single bug in the 5 months since I got my SGS3. Buddy at work switched from the iPhone to the Note 2 after using my SGS3. His iphone 4 was constantly closing apps. He noted that the Note was as smooth and fluid as his iPhone.
I have a ton of paid apps on my phone, not a single pirated one. But nice try at a strawman to convince yourself you made the right move.
49. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3657; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
You made the mistake of getting an LG. The only decent LG device out there is the Nexus 4, and that's only because Google did all the software. Get a Galaxy S3, One X+ or DNA (Butterfly), Razr HD (MAXX), Xperia T, or just any Android flagship from major OEMs from the past year EXCEPT for LG; like Sony, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. Android has been flawless for me since 4.0. Haven't had a single bug on my GS2, even when I had the old Touchwiz.
Android has many faces, you just chose the ugliest one.
55. lauremar (Posts: 180; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
iOS and it's apps are just as buggy as Android maybe more. It's just that when an app crashes, it just closes with no warnings or error messages unlike Android when you get a warning or a crash report when something is not working or crashes. It's all about perception.
72. jroc74 (Posts: 3981; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Exactly..Something Apple is a master of....perception.
Phones with higher screen res than the 3GS were out on Android and Win Mo... Higher res screens didnt become all the rage until Apple included the specs of the Retina Display and marketed it as the greatest things since....sliced bread.....lol.