Google's new iPhone mapping app also will offer its street-level photography of local neighborhoods for the first time on Apple's mobile operating system, as well as three-dimensional views, public transit directions and listings for more than 80 million businesses. The iPhone app still lacks some of the mapping features available on Android-powered phones, such as directions in malls and other buildings.
There still isn't a Google mapping app for Apple's top-selling tablet computer, the iPad, but the company plans to make one eventually. Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., declined to say when it hopes to release an iPad mapping app. For now, iPad owners can use the maps in an iPhone mode. That won't be the best experience, but it still may be better than Apple's maps on the iPad.
Google's free mapping solution is likely to become one of the hottest commodities in Apple's app store, if for no other reason because of pent-up demand among iPhone owners fed up with Apple's alternative. Some iPhone owners even refused to upgrade to Apple's newest software, iOS 6, because they didn't want to lose access to the old Google mapping application built into iOS 5 and earlier versions.
Apple didn't respond to a request for comment about Google's new apps late Wednesday, but it approved the technology before its release.
Graf said Google isn't hoping to make Apple look bad with its new mapping app. "On maps, we have a friendly relationship," he said.