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Google Maps Returns to Apple iOS With Mostly Rave Reviews

Google Maps is back on the iPhone — everybody loves it, but don't be too quick to celebrate, some say

Google Maps returned to Apple iOS on Thursday, giving those who want reliable directions that don't lead them into the Australian bush (looking at you, Apple Maps) reason to rejoice.

The New York Times' David Pogue called the app, now the best-selling free app in the App Store, "free, fast and fantastic."

Apple's Maps was a mess — the shoddy performance misdirected users and provided poor public transportation routes. CEO Timothy Cook apologized for Maps and fired the executive in charge of it.

Max Read at Gawker was elated.

Said Pogue, who did admit that Apple's map was "pretty," of the new Google app: "You will never have to use Apple Maps again, because Google Maps is available for the iPhone again, and it works really well: walking directions, public transportation, intuitive search that actually works, street view, and much better text spacing," he wrote. "Go download it right now."

Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz raved about the app, saying the best part was "all of it."

"The tragic flaw comes from Apple: you can't set Google Maps as your default Maps application," Diaz wrote. "If you click on an address in an email or contact card, it will still open the Apple crap. This is something that Apple, if they really wanted to serve their customer, must change for all its products."

CNET's Lance Whitney was excited about the voice control that this version of Google Maps offers.

"You can search for your destination by typing or speaking it," he wrote. "The app handles specific addresses as well as the names of businesses and landmarks. You can also tell the app whether you're driving, walking, or taking mass transit. In return, Google Maps provides you with spoken turn-by-turn directions."

But Jon Fingas of Engadget sifted through all the praise and found some flaws.

"It's not iPad-optimized, for one," he wrote. "Layers are limited largely to satellite and traffic data, without extras like bicycling or terrain. You can't quickly browse through local attractions without starting a search, or cache maps for offline use."

And Kevin Roose over at New York magazine raised some concerns about how this will affect the app marketplace.

Forced to abandon the reliable Google Maps when iOS 6 debuted, many iPhone users began searching for alternatives to the mistake-prone Apple Maps.

"I'm a little sad that the era of void-filling maps software is about to be over. When Apple Maps bombed, a bunch of smaller, better alternatives popped up to replace it," he wrote. "I was partial to Waze, which has lots of nifty features that neither Apple's nor Google's map software has, like the ability to tell other users about police speed-checks and obstacles in the road."