Not long ago, Apple and Google used to play nicely on the playground. Now, the two companies have filed for divorce. At the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, senior vice president Scott Forstall of Apple said that Google Maps was no longer available on the iPhone. The application has been on the home screen of the iPhone since 2007. It will be replaced with an app created by Apple.
The relationship between the two companies became strained when Android, the operating system from Google, became the major threat to world dominance by Apple. Map applications are some of the most popular apps for smartphones because they allow users to find places, get directions and see traffic.
In 2008, the relationship between the two companies hit a new low when Apple’s senior vice president for marketing, Phil Schiller, and the senior vice president for engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, argued during the summer about which company owned the data coming from the Google Maps app on the iPhone. As the relationship continued to struggle, Google developed mapping technology that featured turn-by-turn directions via the spoken word. That feature was only available on Android.
The new maps for the iPhone from Apple look a lot like the ones offered by Google. There is a street view feature that is very similar to the one from Google Earth, there is real-time traffic data, and there is voice navigation. The application’s data comes from TomTom, the Dutch company that makes GPS systems for cars. Google Maps will still be available through the Apple App Store but it will not come standard with the phones.
On June 6, Google held a conference to announce its new mapping features as it could foreshadow the divorce with Apple. On Android phones, Google Maps will be available offline. This means that users will be able to download portions of cities to their phones so they can still use the app even if they do not have a connection. In Google Earth’s flyover feature, the company said it will release a feature that “really does create the illusion that you are flying over the city, almost as if you were in your own personal helicopter,” said Peter Birch, a product manager for Google Earth.
Google announced that it would be working to add less-developed countries into its Street View feature by photographing streets and map areas that are still blank. The company showed those at its conference new backpacks and snowmobiles equipped with cameras. These items will help the company bring Street View to mountainous areas and rainforests.