Google has released the 3.1 update to its Google Maps iOS app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. The minor update comes just weeks after the major 3.0 overhaul was released, and this time it’s mainly about smoothing out those changes. Google says the 3.1 update offers smoother, quicker transitions in the Street View feature, along with assorted unlisted bug fixes. The update has a small file size at 13.7 megabytes. But the question remains: should iPhone users rely on Apple Maps or the Google Maps app?
That answer has evolved over the past two years. When Apple first swapped out the default Google-based iPhone Maps app with its own app based on in-house mapping data, users complained about the accuracy of certain location and destination data. Apple quickly worked to improve in that area, and by the release of the subsequent iOS version the following year, had delivered a reliable app. However by that time Google had released its own iOS Maps app for iPhone, giving users a choice – and a quandary.
Our general advice is that when looking for driving directions, Apple Maps offers a more consistent iOS style interface, with directions that are at this point about as reliable as Google’s. But for walking or mass transit directions, or Street View, Google Maps is the clear cut winner. However, iPhone and iPad users can be found on both sides who insist that one app or the other is the clear cut choice. The 3.0 version of Google Maps has boosted its feature set significantly, and particularly in light of the refinement delivered by today’s 3.1 update, Apple has a tall order to fill when it comes to the iOS 8 version of Apple Maps expected to arrive this fall.