Google Maps is good, much better than Apple Maps. We all know that. But in his write-up of the new app, New York Times reviewer David Pogue said that even Google thought its new design was superior to the same app on Android.
Maybe that unnamed Google employee was just playing a sales-and-marketing role, talking the app up to generate interest, but it’s still a shocking statement.
Product ecosystems are one of the most fiercely competitive areas of tech right now. Companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft generally keep the best features of their products for themselves and deliver merely adequate iterations for other platforms.
So is the Google Maps app for Apple’s iOS really better than Google’s baked-in, native version for Android?
It depends on what it’s used for. Those who expected the Apple app to be a lesser version of Android’s software are wrong — but those expecting a carbon copy of the Android experience are also sorely mistaken.
The basic, core experience is essentially identical. Maps are the same, as are search results.. Both provide walking directions, public transit routes and voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Street view and 3-D maps are included. There’s no critical flaw in either app that makes one significantly better or worse than the other.
But make no mistake: these are different apps.