Google doesn't think Apple will approve iOS Google Maps, we're not so worried

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Google doesn't think Apple will approve iOS Google Maps, we're not so worried
A report came out today, which claims that sources inside of Google are "not optimistic" that Apple will approve the submission of a Google Maps app into the iTunes App Store. But, we think the pessimism is extremely premature, and maybe beyond that this is actually a push by Google to avoid that exact fate. 

Earlier today, The Guardian reported that an iOS version of the Google Maps app is in development and it should be ready to ship by the end of the year, which means the app has to be almost done if it could launch within the next 2 months. The report also says that the sources inside Google are "not optimistic" that the app will be approved by Apple, and that Google is proceeding as if such approval is "unlikely". 

The quick rundown is that Apple had been using Google Maps as the baked-in maps app in iOS, and Apple still had a year left on that deal, but chose to replace Google Maps with its own. Rumor has it that Google was withholding features like turn-by-turn and vector graphics from Apple in order to give Android an advantage, but that hasn't been confirmed. Either way, Apple moved to its own maps, which it had been building for the past few years, and Apple's new Maps app was hit with a ton of bad press upon release, because of a number of problems. Since then, Scott Forstall who had been in charge of Apple's Maps project has left the company, and users have been calling for Google to release its own Maps app into the iTunes App Store, and Apple has suggested users try alternatives as the company works hard to fix the problems

Sentiment is split within Google as to whether or not Scott Forstall's departure would be a good or bad thing for Google's own maps app, but that Apple will undoubtedly "keep moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better". Apparently, Google insiders are also pointing to the iTunes App Store itself as proof that Apple won't approve a Google Maps app, because a new section in iTunes highlights alternative maps apps, but doesn't list apps which use Google Maps APIs and resources like Quick Route or Maps+. 

Of course, the fact that these apps aren't listed also points out the flaw in the Google insider thinking: there are already maps app alternatives in the iTunes Store that are essentially 3rd party Google Maps apps, so how can anyone legitimately claim that Apple wouldn't approve an official Google Maps app? It makes no sense. As long as Google isn't using any of Apple's undocumented iOS APIs in the Google Maps app, there is no good reason why Apple would deny the app submission. 

As we've mentioned before, Apple has already learned its lesson on this front with the Google Voice app, which Apple denied submission. The FCC opened up an investigation on the matter and essentially forced Apple to approve the app. Since then, Apple has never significantly delayed a Google app, even letting through a buggy Gmail app. Apple has also opened up the App Store to browser alternatives and more.

And, that's the real trouble here. Just like some people still cling to the outdated notion that Android is a buggy mess, some people still use the idea that Apple will refuse an app submission as a scare tactic. The truth is that the bad press and geek rage alone will be enough to pressure Apple into approving a Google Maps app, if Apple drags its feet. Apple's own Maps app may not be great, but it still has the benefit of being baked-in to iOS, so any calls for directions or place searches will be directed to that maps app and not an alternative. Siri won't be able to work with anything but the Apple Maps app, so all alternatives are already at a disadvantage. 

Apple doesn't really have any good reasons to deny a Google Maps app, and just like with alternative web browsers, Apple still has the advantage over alternative maps apps, because of how iOS works. So, if anything, this report and the thoughts of the Google insiders may just be nothing more than priming the media. Google needs us to be on the watch, because it's the media pressure that Apple would actually respond to. If it's behind the scenes, Apple might delay a Google Maps app, but if it's in the public eye, Apple has no valid reasons to hold it back. Google will surely let someone in the media know when the Google Maps app has been submitted, but we definitely don't expect there to be any delays, or impediments by Apple, but we'll be watching.

source: The Guardian

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38 Comments

1. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Apple is now behaving like a sissy. Good their market share is shrinking. It should shrink further.

15. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Their market share isn't shrinking. Google's just coming up with excuses to not release a maps app on iOS. Apple didn't reject their other products so I don't see the problem.

19. Ravail

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 14, 2011

You are aware it was APPLE that decided to remove the built-in Google maps in iOS 6 right?

23. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

You are aware Apple didn't remove it, they just let their contract/agreement expire. The YouTube app was available before the launch of the iPhone 5 if you remember. The only reason there is no maps app is because of Google.

26. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

uumm, didn't apple let it expire and then decided not to include GMap just to have apple maps inside? there's an article about that in PA.. So, no, apple didn't remove, they just let the contract expire and then decided not to include it anymore.. and apple didn't reject Google's other products, but in the case of Maps, it is because apple sooooo wanted to use its own map that it decided to shoot itself in the head..

29. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

Yes, Apple let it expire so that meant legally they couldn't use a Google application as a stock application without getting Google's permission (*cough contract/agreement cough*). Apple wanted to go it's own route so they didn't mind and if it wasn't for the maps fiasco they would be smooth sailing. There is a full suite of Google applications in the app store (all approved by Apple) so they would more than likely accept a new Google maps, it just wouldn't be the default maps (as in no clicking a link in Safari and getting it to open in Google maps and there most likely won't be support for Siri or other stock features). I for one hated losing the stock YouTube app mainly because I can no longer lock my iPhone and listen to music on the run like I used to (not sure if it works through Safari though).

28. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

So many things wrong with this. First of all: there was a year left on the contract. Apple took google maps out early. This is a fact. Second of all: it is much, much more difficult to make a working maps application, complete with all the features google offers (traffic, satellite, latitude, local, 3d mapping, indoor mapping, etc...) than it is to create an app that plays videos from the internet. This is also a fact. That said, I think the OP is wrong, and this article as the right of it. Google is taking the steps they think are necessary to see their app properly approved. whether these steps are ACTUALLY needed or not remains to be seen. While I'm nooooo fan of apple, I don't think it's fair to call them a sissy when in this particular case, they haven't done anything.

30. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

First: I read an article at the time saying that Apple let the contract expire. So if I'm wrong, I'm fine with that. Just reply with a link. Second: While that is true, Apple didn't create their own data for the maps. Instead they used data from TomTom and others and then "Carmel Apple-ized" it (just a term I made up for Apple turning something into a more Apple look and feel) and presented it to the public. I think we'll see Google maps in App Store eventually. It just all depends on when Google has it complete and whenever Apple gives it the green light. Also, rusticguy made the sissy remark ;-)

31. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2731; Member since: May 26, 2011

The contract didn't expire. Apple removed Google Maps even though there was still a year left on the deal, and Apple could have kept Google Maps. That said, it has been rumored that Google wasn't going to allow Apple to use turn-by-turn or vector graphics, which prompted the switch now.

33. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

Thanks for the link, Michael. :-p Also, in your future articles, I give you my express written consent to use "Carmel Apple-ized". All I require is credit.

34. cybervlad81

Posts: 89; Member since: Apr 04, 2011

Well, we don't know what the contract said exactly, and being that the contract has still not expired it is possible that the contract had a clause in it preventing Google from releasing their own maps app. I know that at one point(a few years ago?) I saw Google had listed on their site how to add a shortcut to the web maps on your iDevice because they could not release their own app for iOS. At that time iOS's maps were pulled from Google. Just a guess at why Google may doubt the acceptance of a Gmaps app.

35. jackhuny

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

If apple can build a youtube app don't you think they will just take over? It is just so "apple", they take a good third party app and build one of their own and build-in to the iOS force people to use it.

36. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

The same could be said about Google though. Their suite of applications aren't all original and typically don't differentiate from other competitors drastically.

38. JeffdaBeat unregistered

Apple was absolutely right in removing Google Maps and YouTube from stock iOS. Everyone may have their sides in this, but from a business point of view, Google is a competitor. Period. You shouldn't willingly put your direct competitor's products in your device unless you are legally obligated to do so. Now, YouTube being in The App Store, that's fine. Users can choose to download it or not. Google Maps should be in the App Store and I'm sure it will get approved (Apple pretty much promoted Apple Maps alternatives after they made their apology). Google's Maps app will get approved. But again...you should never be in bed with your competitor. Whether you like Apple or not, it isn't in the best interest of Apple to continue to have their rival's products loaded in with their stock software.

21. Izzy_V

Posts: 216; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

I'm not sure if you're that oblivious and ignorant or flat out don't pay attention to anything that goes against apple even when they (the ones going against apple) are right. apple removed the GMaps app from the app store/ios so its apple maps app would be the first app users came across if they needed to get directions and find places. Google isn't coming up with excuses, they're trying to put it back in so the already lost ios users don't get more lost using apple maps.

43. letgomyeggroll

Posts: 139; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Mxy why do you always comment before read and get the facts first Now take out the rainbow out of your a@!, and be real for once!!!

49. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Talk first questions later.

18. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

by next year they will be like nokia

44. Danre

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 02, 2012

Apple is now behaving like a sissy because they know Gmap is far better & superior than Apple map. and if Google map comes in iOs then only a fool is going use Apple map.

2. pankajgupta

Posts: 59; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

they will stop it.. just not now.. they will do it when their own Maps are good.. may be.. 10-12 years down the line :P and that is why people love android because of such openness and options. :)

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Allowing the GMaps app on the iTunes store will not only show how many people love GMaps, but also how much Apple has to work on with their own mapping system. They're doing pretty good but GMaps is the most polished mapping app out there besides Nokia Maps.

8. skymitch89

Posts: 1447; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

I thought that Google Maps was already on iOS? I've seen it on iPhones and iPads before.

12. Izzy_V

Posts: 216; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

It used to be but when Android started to crush apple's products more and more it removed the GMaps app. At the same time apple was also about to release/it released its apple maps [cr]app.

10. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

wrong spot

14. TROLL

Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Wow very well writen "High-End" article.

17. mydi.maus unregistered

euhh?? maps?!whos map?

20. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Google don't even wast youre time against the bad Fruit. Just let their crappy imaps get their consumers get lost

25. bomariam1

Posts: 43; Member since: May 08, 2012

I think that Apple can bo any thing, because they only sell their product to an apple lover customers. ( US ). And they will buy it even if it dose nothing. Who buy an product such like iPad when you can buy a tab that have multi screen, and a pen!

45. LostInTheRed

Posts: 85; Member since: May 03, 2012

I'd also like to point out, it's also been rumored that Apple withheld the features like turn-by-turn, so that when they released Apple Maps, it would be seen as a new and much needed feature on iOS.

46. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Well Google doesn't have to make a maps app for IOS if it doesn't want to in the first. place.

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