So why is this big news? Because starting in September when Apple’s iOS 6 is reportedly going to ship, Google Maps will no longer be the backend of the maps app for Apple’s products. Apple has put together its own maps offerings through the purchase and combining of three different maps related companies, further separating themselves from Google. As a result any time that Google Maps updates it will need to be immediately held up against the Apple Maps service to do the age old comparison game.
So back to Google which is the known entity for now. The Official Google Blog tells us about this update to Maps
Today we’re releasing an update to the Google Maps for Android app (version 6.10) which makes this transit information even more useful. We’ve made some changes to the Transit Lines layer, so that you can select a specific mode of public transportation (train, bus, tram or subway) to display on the mobile map, hiding the other modes. This is helpful in areas where there is a tight concentration of several types of public transit.
Of course, that’s not all. I suspect that the Maps team at Google is going to get even more aggressive in its updating now that the competition has ratcheted up several notches. As Android supposedly gets its user experience issues ironed out in later Android versions, people will need to look to specific apps in each the iOS and Android worlds to help make the decisions as to which platform they will adopt. Here is some more about the maps update
In addition to these new transit features, we’ve updated region highlighting, My Places and Location History displays in Google Maps for Android:
-Now, whenever you search for a city or postal code, the borders of that region are highlighted.
-Under My Places you’ll notice we’ve added new tabs, which will help you access all your information from a single place; from your saved maps for use offline to your starred places and Custom Maps created on your desktop.
-If you enable Location History, you’ll be able to browse the places you’ve been on a daily basis with an updated Location History dashboard.
When the native maps app for iOS 6 is finally presented to the world there will be a lot of interest in seeing just how it holds up to what has been, until now, the industry standard in maps. From an SEO standpoint this will now mean that local data will need to be attended to in yet another environment. Knowing Apple’s penchant for control will it be easy to update listings for local? Could Apple be opening a can of worms that may do more harm than good?
Only time will tell and that time is coming very soon. It should be very interesting to watch.