In a video comparing Android Maps to iOS Maps (below), famed Wall Street Journal tech journalist Walt Mossberg tipped that Google will launch Street View in the web version accessible by iOS devices as early as this Thursday. He even took it for a spin and was impressed by what he saw.
In fact, Google plans to announce on Thursday that it is adding its popular Street View feature, missing from Apple’s maps, to the Web version of Google Maps accessed from the iPhone and iPad. I tested this addition, which displays 360-degree photographic street views of selected locations, and interior photographic views of certain businesses, using sample links Google sent me. These links worked well, allowing me to see the locations and pan around with a finger.
This lines up nicely with David Pogue’s assertion last week: “[iOS users] can still use Google’s maps — on the Web. …you’ll get written directions, public transportation details, live traffic reports and, of course, Google’s far superior maps and data. (In two weeks, you’ll be able to get Street View this way, too, says Google.)”
As for whether Google will launch a third-party App Store–supplied Maps app, some reports take the company’s reticence to confirm that as a “no” while multiple others, citing various anonymous sources, believe that it’s a certainty. So at this point, it’s still a question mark. (For the record, my money’s on “yes,” though it won’t be immediately.)
For its part, Apple seems pretty gung ho about fixing iOS Maps as soon as possible. Instead of sitting around, waiting for end user feedback or relying solely on legions of dedicated navigation teams, the company is hitting up its network of 400 stores for help. With 40,000 retail employees worldwide at its disposal, those are a lot of hands pitching in. Multiple sources over at MacRumors indicate that participating Apple stores will allot 40 working hours per week — divvied up across workers at each location — to manually checking map data in their areas and sending in corrections or suggestions.