Apple’s version is still bolted into the phone, and the new, free Google app must be downloaded from Apple’s app store. Google says the app was downloaded 10 million times in just its first two days of availability last week.
The reappearance of Google Maps on the iPhone closes a big advantage Google’s own Android phones had gained when Apple’s replacement turned out to lack some key features, such as labeling of buildings and businesses, street-view photos and public-transit routing. It also offered too much inaccurate location data.
Why would Google bail out iPhone users and give its rival’s phone a better version of its Maps app than its own Android customers enjoy, even temporarily? Because, while Apple makes its money from hardware, Google is a services and advertising company, and wants its products to be heavily used on a popular platform like Apple’s.