7 Jun 2012

Google Adds Features to Mobile Maps




By Brian Womack and Adam Satariano at BusinessWeek:  
Google Inc. (GOOG) (GOOG) is upgrading mapping services to woo users and swipe back at Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL), which is nudging aside the location tools on its own mobile devices.
Apple plans to unveil a mapping application next week that will come pre-installed on its iPhones and iPad tablets, replacing Google Maps, said a person with knowledge of the matter who isn’t authorized to speak publicly about it.

Google, whose mapping app has been on the iPhone since its unveiling in 2007, today announced a feature that gives users access to maps even when they’re offline. The feature initially is only available on devices using Google’s Android software.

“I’m very proud of Google Maps services and they’re available basically on all devices today,” Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Maps, said at an event today in San Francisco. “We’ll continue to make Google Maps services as widely available as possible.”

Google and Apple have increasingly clashed as the two companies compete for users of mobile devices and related services, such as music and movies. Google’s Android operating system has emerged as the most widely used smartphone software, and will command 61 percent of the market this year, while Apple’s iOS will rank second, with 20.5 percent this year, according to IDC.

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