Maps Tip: Google Street View is back on iOS 6… in a way

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Apple Maps for iOS 6 across 3 devicesIt is no secret that certain aspects of Google Maps have been missed in the new Maps in iOS 6. The most notably missed feature is the Google Street View, and of course, the accuracy and sheer functionality of Google Maps.

Sure, the new Maps app in iOS 6 had some great features as well. One of the most notably useful features not found in the previous Google Maps based solution was the turn by turn navigation found in the new Maps app. Apple tried to replace the Google Street View with the Fly Over effect.

While the Fly Over is certainly an eyeful for areas supported, its usefulness is nowhere near Google Street View. After all, the average Joe will need to view the location on the street level where they will be when they visit the location in question. They can’t really tell street level landmarks so high up in the sky. Fly Over is basically just eye candy.

Apple apologized about the lack of pure functionality in their Maps app. It still lacks a lot of data, misplaces a lot of locations, and labels landmarks incorrectly. Their navigation system is still a hit and miss, but at least it is there. For basic mapping solutions, in case you need to look up an address correctly, Apple’s Tim cook directs you to 3rd party solutions, even mentioning Google Maps.

Google Maps is not yet available as an app in the App store. It can only be accessed via Safari by going to maps.google.com. The mobile site works mostly like the desktop version of Google Maps, but it was missing one of the key features that navigators were looking for: Google Street View capabilities.

Street View as seen through a Safari browserThankfully, Google remedied that fairly quickly by launching an update to the mobile Google maps application by introducing Google Street View to the mobile code. Users can now look up many locations and view it on the street level.

The problem is, porting Street View to the mobile site is a monumental task. What Google has placed on the mobile version is what you can call a “lite version” of Google Street View. There were still many locations that were not included in the mobile version but available in the desktop version. It can also run a bit slow and does not have the same zoom level as the desktop version. Apple’s safari browser can only access this much, but it is still a very welcome improvement and a sigh of relief that Google is doing something about it.

Apple Genius helps a customerMeanwhile, Apple is steadily working to try and figure out all the things wrong with their maps application. Word is that Apple is tasking their staff to locate and report inaccurate map data or map anomalies to the maps division. Since people are avoiding using the Apple maps application, they have to turn to their own resources to be able to gather mapping and location data for the improvement of their maps offering. If all goes well, Apple maps may yet take center stage.

Image sources: cnn.com, apple.com, digitaltrends.com

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