Walt Mossberg and David Pogue: Google Maps is Best on iOS

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Google Maps launched to much applause, and the app was almost universally reviewed as offering more accurate data than iOS 6′s solution. While the design side of each app is more subject to one’s personal taste, Google’s data set is superior both in practice and from a technical point of view.

However, two notable journalists have recently decided that Google Maps is actually best viewed on an iOS device, and that the iOS client is superior to what is available on the web and on Android, Google’s mobile platform.

Walt Mossberg, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

However, the biggest news here is that the new iPhone version of Google Maps isn’t just better than Apple Maps. For now, at least, Google Maps is better in most respects on the iPhone than it is on Android phones. It has been redesigned with a cleaner, simpler user interface that makes it easier to use. Google officials say they took the sudden need to build a new iPhone version as an opportunity to rethink the popular app from the ground up.

David Pogue, writing for The New York Times:

Google admits that it’s even better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus.

In a straight comparison of features, the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps are comparable, with neither being able to assert a large lead on the other. Performance is also comparable, and depends more on network conditions than on the platform. However, the design of the iOS app is certainly different, and (it seems) simpler to use. Apparently, Google prefers the iOS client to that of the Android version likely because of its newer design and emphasis on search and gestures to navigate the UI.

Still, having used the latest clients for each platform, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. While the iOS version is certainly cleaner, some of the commands are more buried than on Android. The Android version seems to reveal more of the in-depth functionality, while the iOS version hides said functionality behind sliding panels.

Which version do you prefer? Is iOS’ Google Maps client really the superior choice, or do both have their upsides?

Post a response / What do you think?