Directions were easy to understand. But don't worry if you're the type of person, like my husband, who finds voice directions annoying. There's a mute option.
Google's app usually gives you the choice of a couple of routes. Unlike Apple's app, Google Maps lets you automatically exclude routes that involve highways or tolls. You can also add an overlay showing how bad the traffic is along the way, along with satellite and street-level photography of the area you're traveling through. Those features are much more limited in Apple's app.
To test out the walking directions, I took to the streets of New York. I didn't get as many bells and whistles as the driving directions. For instance, there was no nice lady to tell me which way to go, because the voice directions only work for driving. In addition, the app doesn't automatically recalculate your route if you miss a turn. The little blue dot marking your location just continues on its merry way in the wrong direction.
To get the voice and the recalculations, you'd have to walk with driving directions, but you might then find yourself walking farther as the app won't let you walk against traffic on one-way street or through a park on recreational paths.
Google's mapping service is typically adorned with multitudes of landmarks such as tourist spots, dry cleaners and bars. To test this out, I took a walk up Ninth Avenue toward Hell's Kitchen. I found that while Google knows this neighborhood pretty well, it doesn't know it as well as I do.
A pawn shop that closed and was replaced by a Dunkin' Donuts a month or two ago is still shown as such on the map (then again, it's not even listed in Apple's mapping app). A bar that changed its name last summer still is listed under its former identity, the same as in the Apple software. And only about half of the many restaurants on the roughly 10 blocks I walked are listed. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of rhyme or reason as to what made the map and what didn't. Still, there appears to be more landmarks in Google Maps than in Apple's app.