Google Maps companion app arrives for Apple Watch

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Maps adds its 3D flyover view to new cities, towns, and castles.

At Google’s press event today, the company announced a number of new products and updates, including two new Nexus smartphones, two Chromecast devices, a new Android tablet and more, but one thing it kept under wraps was news of a notable new application arriving on the iOS platform: Google Maps now works on Apple Watch.While Google Maps might have the edge on its mapping rivals in terms of features, Apple’s own Maps app has one thing Google’s doesn’t — its 3D Flyover mode.It’s been a long wait, but Apple Watch finally gets Google Maps, which is good news for most people who have been sorely disappointed by Apple’s version of a map guide.In addition, when you pull up directions on your iPhone, these are immediately synced over to Apple Watch so that they’re accessible when you launch the app on your smartwatch.

Through an update to the Google Maps iOS app on the iTunes App Store, Google has quietly rolled out an Apple Watch version of its popular (and, even among Apple fans, often preferred) mapping application. The viewing option overlays detailed images of a location onto precise topographical and structural data, allowing you to zoom in on accurately portrayed buildings, hills, and other landmarks that look like little toy versions of themselves. The new Watch app offers a simpler version of Google Maps compared to what’s available on smartphones, as it’s designed to work more as a companion app to the richer, more feature-rich smartphone counterpart.

Apple previously updated Maps with a set of new Flyover-capable cities just before it launched iOS 9, but it’s added to that list again today, enabling the option for locations in Japan, France, Spain, and other countries. Included in the latest batch are tourist hotspots such as Florence, Genoa, and Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, a Bavarian hilltop palace that looks like something out of a fairytale. Ranging from incorrect roads leading to bodies of water or odd representations of the terrain, it was obvious to most that Apple Maps could not replace Google Maps.

The app received multiple updates throughout the years that have deemed it as mostly a decent product, but Google has been updating their app at an almost constant. The inclusion and development of 3D maps will also trigger a new wave of augmented reality apps, where Apple could use this 3D animation technology to make different kinds of scenarios for users who are on the road, or are using those augmented reality apps. The first, “Google News & Weather,” was a fairly bare-bones application that felt more like Google was experimenting with building for Apple Watch and its related feature sets rather than a real attempt at developing something useful for Apple Watch owners. And while Apple Maps still lacks the Street View features of Google’s competing service, the company is apparently attempting to catch up with its rival.

Apple-marked cars and vans have been spotted in cities in the United States and United Kingdom, each bearing similar 3D camera equipment used by Google’s own mapping vehicles, and with its iOS 9 update, Apple added public transit directions to make traversing cities simpler. In addition to the Apple Watch support, the smartphone app also now offers the ability to compare ETAs by mode of transportation, a way to call businesses and get directions from a list of places, a nearby transit widget for the iOS Notification Center, and more.

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