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Google maps app invades the iPhone

The Google Maps app is seen on an Apple iPhone 4S.

By now, you know about the war between Apple and Google. Earlier this year, Apple kicked Google Maps of its iPhone to make way for its own map, and, well, we all know how that went. It was a big iFail. And even Apple loyalists have been bemoaning the lack of a good map on their smartphones.

Well, today Google released the Google Maps as an app for iPhone. A truce? Not quite.

You’ve heard the old adage “location, location, location"? Well, in the age of mobile, you’ll be hearing a lot more of it, says Ronald Goodstein, a marketing professor at Georgetown’s Business School.

“The big growth in marketing right now is location based marketing on your mobile,” Goodstein said. “And Google earns about 97 percent of its revenues through advertising.”

Goodstein says with its Google’s new iPhone map, it has the potential to make more. After all, about half of the U.S.’s smartphone users are on iPhones and unlike the previous Google Maps, Google can carry advertising on its new version.

“It’s 12 o’clock and I’m on 95 south heading to Florida -- well here’s the restaurant you might want to stop at,” Goodstein says.

Google Maps might also serve up ads for hotels and fruit stands. We’re not there yet, but analysts believe this scenario will unfold in the not-too-distant future. Google's new app is scoring it another win and that’s in the court of public opinion.

“Apple makes great products but in terms of their software development they’re not the best in the space,” said Colin Gillis is an analyst at BGC Partners.

Gillis says Apple’s maps fiasco is reinforcing the emerging narrative that Google is the king of mobile software. And for the first time in recent memory, Georgetown’s Goodstein says, you are starting to see a slight crack in Apple loyalty.

“Loyal apple users want the Apple hardware but now they’re willing to compromise on the software,” Goodstein says. And if Apple has more failures, that crack could turn into a faultline.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.
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Wow Queena ... you read this one exactly backwards ... in every aspect of this story.

Did I really hear that?

"On the list of epic corporate failures this year I don't think anything ranks as high as Apple's ill-fated map experiment"

Really? Did you miss the one about a JPM London Whale?

Apple has great hardware, and some arrogance issues with their software, but mostly it's better than the competitors. I'm reminded of that every time I have to use Window's IE or mail programs. I've not had trouble with Apple maps. Yet. But then Google has sent me on wild goose chases before. I'm used to using my phone and my car's gps. Just to make sure.

“Apple makes great products but in terms of their software development they’re not the best in the space,”

Really Colin? OS X, iOS, FinalCut, Aperture, Logic Pro are not the best in the space? Apple's core competency is putting powerful, intuitive software on top of all that beautifully engineered hardware. I think you mean that their cloud services tend to be lacking, and more than a few people think that trend may change now that Apple's best firefighter, Eddie Cue, is in charge of internet software AND services. The new system status page, http://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus/, bodes well in this regard.

Google was holding Apple back by keeping the iPhone version a few generations behind. Apple kicks Google off then Google finally adds features in.

And most (>>50%) people did not have major problems with Apple Maps but there were some very embarassing mistakes.

Competition is good both ways. Both mapping programs will (hopefully) get better. As for me, I have remained a gen behind iOS because things already work the way I want them too. When I get forced, I'll upgrade to the next iOS... probably around the time of iOS 6.5.x or 7.1.

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