A screenshot of Google Maps on Android Lollipop
|Initial release||September 23, 2008|
9.38.1 (Android), 4.23.0 (iOS) / October 6, 2016
|Operating system||Android since initial release; iOS 7.0 and later|
|Available in||English, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese|
Google Maps is a mapping mobile app developed by Google for the Android and iOS operating systems; it uses Google Maps for its information. It was first released for Android on September 23, 2008, and later for iOS on December 13, 2012 as an alternative to Apple Maps, which was released with iOS 6.
On November 28, 2007, Google Maps for Mobile 2.0 was released. Its location service can work with or without a GPS receiver. The "my location" feature uses the GPS / Assisted GPS location of the mobile device, if available, supplemented by determining the nearest wireless networks and cell sites. The software looks up the location of the cell site using a database of known wireless networks and sites. By triangulating the different signal strengths from different cell transmitters and then using their location property (retrieved from the online cell site database), My Location determines the user's current location. Wireless network location method is calculated by discovering the nearby WiFi hotspots and using their location property (retrieved from the online WiFi database, in the same way as the cell site database) to further discover the user's location. The order in which these take precedence is:
The software plots the streets in blue that are available with a yellow icon and a green circle around the estimated range of the cell site based on the transmitter's rated power (among other variables). The estimate is refined using the strength of the cell phone signal to estimate how close to the cell site the mobile device is.
Up until iOS 6, the built-in maps application on iOS was powered by Google Maps. However, with the release of the first iOS 6 beta in June 2012, Apple announced that they had created their own map service. On September 19, 2012, iOS 6 was released with a new maps application with map data powered by Apple. After Apple's built-in maps application received much criticism, Google decided to create its own maps application.
On December 13, 2012, Google Maps was launched on the iOS App Store. Within only two days, the application had been downloaded over 10 million times. Shortly after the application was released, it was initially reported that the number of iOS upgrades to iOS 6 surged by as much as 30%. However, some reports suggest that the surge was actually due to the iPhone 5's release in China.
Google Maps for iOS has many of the features that are in their Android map application, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view, and public transit information. The application's user interface has been completely redesigned. The original version did not support the iPad, but Google planned to add iPad support. iPad support was added with version 2.0.
As of version 6.9 Google Maps offers offline access to downloaded maps of certain countries, a feature only offered in Labs of previous versions. As of 2013, 150 countries are available offline.
Smartphones are being used for navigation assistance.
Features provided in the application:
Maps and information are not included in the installed Google Maps for Android file; an Internet connection is required, as for iPhone's Google Maps application. There is also an offline feature that allows users to download specific portion of a map for later offline use, this feature was praised by users in countries where mobile internet is either too costly or too slow or both. An automatic map caching feature temporarily stores recently viewed areas, reducing the amount of data to be downloaded. There is also a 'Download Map Area' feature in the Labs section of Google Maps which enables the user to download the basic road map and landmark data for an area of 10 square miles (26 km2) around any point; but even after a map of an area is downloaded, a data connection is still needed to "see satellite view and 3D buildings, search for Places and get directions.". The user can download limited areas several times to cover the total area desired. Google suggests that users can make use of this feature to download the map of a foreign city before traveling to visit it, to avoid the need for expensive international roaming data downloading.
The application has mostly had favorable reviews from critics. USA Today welcomed the application back to iOS, saying, "The reemergence in the middle of the night of a Google Maps app for the iPhone is like the return of an old friend. Only your friend, who'd gone missing for three months, comes back looking better than ever." CNET, calling it "the king of maps", said, "With its iOS Maps app, Google sets the standard for what mobile navigation should be and more." Bree Fowler of the Associated Press compared Google's and Apple's map applications, saying, "The one clear advantage that Apple has is style. Like Apple devices, the maps are clean and clear and have a fun, pretty element to them, especially in 3-D. But when it comes down to depth and information, Google still reigns superior and will no doubt be welcomed back by its fans." Gizmodo gave it a "gizrank" of 4.5 stars. Google has even admitted in 2012 that the iPhone and iPod touch version of its mapping software is more advanced than the version found on its own Android mobile phone and tablet operating system.
Google Maps' location tracking is widely regarded as a threat to the users' privacy. Data on the users' life (personal habits and movements) is presumed to be used to make routing suggestions more precise.