Google maps returns to App Store
Google's new mapping application for iPhone went straight to the top spot on the Irish one app store.
The free Google Maps app is available in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, Google said in a blog posting today.
Google was widely expected to introduce its own app after the new version of Apple's iOS mobile software removed the built-in software.
While the new Google Maps app is designed for the iPhone and is iPad-compatible, an iPad specific app has not yet been released.
The original app, powered by Google, was an essential feature since the iPhone's debut in 2007.
Critics faulted Apple's new application for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and lack of public transit directions, prompting chief executive officer Tim Cook to issue a rare apology to consumers.
"People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone," the company said in the blog post.
California-based Apple added new features such as turn-by-turn navigation and fly-over views of landscapes into its program.
IOS software runs iPhones and iPads, which compete with smartphones and tablets that run Google's Android operating system.
Apple is seeking to build confidence in iOS amid a growing battle with Google, which provides the Android platform to mobile-phone makers such as Samsung Electronics and HTC for free.
Booming demand for Android-based smartphones is helping Google add share at the expense of other software providers, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said December 11 in an interview.
Android snared 72 per cent of the market in the third quarter, while Apple had 14 per cent, according to Gartner.
Customers are activating more than 1.3 million Android devices a day, Mr Schmidt said.
While Apple's map program doesn't appear to have hurt sales of the iPhone 5, Mr Cook said he was "extremely sorry for the frustration" the app had caused consumers. "We are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Mr Cook wrote in a letter to customers posted on its website.
Additional reporting by: Bloomberg