Google Maps Readies to Reclaim iPhone 5 Users, Bump Off Nokia HERE

Just after Apple replaced Google’s mobile map tool with a half-baked application of its own, the search giant began prepping its own Maps app for the iPhone and iPad. According to an insider, Google has currently distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones to some individuals outside the company. Google is still putting the final touches on the app, and will soon submit it for approval to the App Store.

By posting a full Maps app in the App Store, Google is setting up its next play in an ongoing battle that’s turned ugly amongst mobile rivals. And if the app got approved on the store, it will directly compete with Apple’s new mapping software that is preinstalled on the iPhone 5.

“We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system,” said a Google spokesman.

As maps are an important part of any modern device like iPhone or iPad, this new Google maps app will compete in every arena, from mobile devices to digital-media sales. Back in September when Apple replaced the Google maps app with its own mapping software, things backfired when consumers complained of bugs and incorrect data, prompting Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize on behalf of his team.

But Maps wasn’t the only Google-powered app to get kicked off iOS devices.  Anyone who updated to iOS 6 will find that YouTube’s app is absent, forcing you to watch clips on a mobile web browser with a far less friendly interface.   This decision may have drawn the line in the sand, but may also end up giving Google a big revenue boost.  Unlike the old YouTube app, the web view contain the video ads that have propelled YouTube into a multibillion-dollar business for Google.

But Google and Apple are not alone in the battle over location services.  We’ve got a threesome here, and the third partner is Finnish manufacturer Nokia.  Earlier this week Nokia revealed HERE, claiming it the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.

Nokia also announced a partnership with Mozilla to bring HERE to Firefox OS, and has plans of taking HERE to Android by providing Android OEMs with HERE SDKs early in 2013.  In fact, Nokia described its new service as “[aiming] to inspire . . . to make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere.

On the same, SiliconANGLE News Desk Editor Kristen Nicole says this is a nod to the trend towards ambient contextualization, with search and location technology becoming more personal.  Kristen also noted that Google has established itself as the standard for mapping technology, leaving everyone else to play catch up.  So far Apple has made their move and missed the mark, and now we have Nokia making a similar play for Google’s well-mapped market.

About Isha Suri

Isha Suri is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE covering social news and security trends. If you have a story idea or news tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.