Google is reportedly finishing up the development of a new Google Maps app for the iPhone, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
The firm has begun distributing test versions of the app to people outside of the company, the report said, and is getting ready to submit it to Apple’s App Store.
For its latest operating system, Apple rewrote the pre-installed maps app to use its own data instead of Google’s. The switch did not sit will with many customers, especially as problems with Apple’s mapping program began to pop up. The number of errors in the program even prompted an apology from chief executive Tim Cook and may have contributed to the ouster of iOS leader Scott Forstall.
Apple Maps stands to improve as the company collects more data, but it will have to move quickly to compete with Google’s years of research into geolocation data.
According to the report, Google will include features that weren’t a part of the old, pre-installed app, including turn-by-turn directions — a key feature that Apple Maps added to the iPhone.
Google has several apps in Apple’s App Store, including a YouTube app that replaced another one that Apple booted from its pre-install catalog. Other apps, too, directly compete with Apple services, including Gmail and Google Play Books.
Google is also the default search engine on iPhones, though the Journal report floats the idea that Apple is working to make Google less relevant by having its Siri voice-assistant program use other sources to answer queries.