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Google Maps was banished by Apple when iOS 6 hit earlier this year, but the much beloved service might make a triumphant return tonight, on 12/12/12. According to AllThingsD, the long-awaited standalone application will be available in the app store in a matter of hours, liberating melted buildings and lost Aussies from Apple’s experiment gone awry.

It’s been turbulent journey for Tim Cook’s new mapping infant, and even though it’s improving, most iOS users want the old guard back, the familiar and reliable experience that only Android users currently enjoy. Apple Maps wasn’t just a few unsightly renderings and a lack of world data; the service was met with such criticism that Cook acted by firing longstanding execs and issuing a public apology.

The iron is hot for Google to strike, and hopefully that means introducing a robust, feature-filled app that will satisfy the nomadic urges of iOS users across the globe. Of course, it won’t be deeply integrated into Apple’s iOS ecosystem like Apple Maps, but it’s an alternative I’m sure many people will happily use.

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the app’s imminent arrival, with the last report suggesting Google was close to submitting the app back in November. Neither Google or Apple has commented on the matter, which is par for the course, but the hour of reckoning seems to nearly be upon us. The lateness of the hour is creeping toward Thursday for east coasters, so hopefully we see something popup soon.

Source AllThingsD