Google brings Street View to iOS via mobile web site update
In light of the recent Apple Maps controversy that plagued the iPhone 5 launch and saw the removal of Google Maps in iOS, Google have updated their mobile web app to include Street View mode. This should help compensate the many frustrated iOS 6 users for the time being, while Google builds a native Google Maps app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and trying to preventing users from switching to alternative services such as Garmin’s updated Navigon app.
The Google Street View mobile experience is similar to that of the previous Google Maps app on iOS, albeit a little less smooth and polished. Not that the old maps app was anything to get excited about. Just as before, you can use your fingers to pan around and view locations in 360 degrees via a first-person perspective using the device’s touch screen.
While Apple’s iOS developers scramble to improve the Apple Maps experience, Google have a unique opportunity to show off their Android operating system, using Google Maps as the hook to reel Apple fans in. I was demonstrating Google Maps on Android to an iPhone user this weekend and he was blown away by how feature-rich the experience was compared to the iOS equivalent.
I spent a few extra minutes showing off a series of Android’s best features to him and he was astonished at how polished and advanced it was. By the time I had finished, he became genuinely angry with how little his iPhone 5 had in comparison. I did the same with about half a dozen more iPhone 4 and 4S users to see if this was just a one off but each person was markedly impressed with the latest version of Android.
I was surprised by how little people knew about Android and its features compared to iOS. It became obvious that this mapping misstep by Apple gives Google a unique opportunity to show off Android to an audience that normally wouldn’t consider anything other than the iPhone, but for a short period of time their eyes and ears are wide open to alternatives.
Arguably the biggest barrier preventing people from switching platforms is their investment in apps. If you have to pay for all your apps again just to make the switch, then this would be a deal breaker for most people. Perhaps it’s time Google offered a service in conjunction with app developers to allow a purchased app to be transferred from one OS to another. If I were Google, I’d do anything I could to capitalise on Apple’s PR fumble.
Have you considered switching in light of the recent maps issues? Is Google Maps a deal breaker for you? Would you make the switch if you could take your paid apps with you? Let us know in the comments below.Tagged in: apple, Apple Maps, google, google maps, ios, iphone 5, Street View
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