Review: iPhone Google Maps lags Android version

Feb 07 2013, 10:54 IST
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Every time my husband and I drive from NY to Michigan, we dread the long stretch. (Thinkstock) Every time my husband and I drive from NY to Michigan, we dread the long stretch. (Thinkstock)
SummaryEvery time my husband and I drive from NY to Michigan, we dread the long stretch.

Every time my husband and I drive the 677 miles (1,100 kilometers) from New York to my parents\' house in Michigan, we dread the long stretch of Interstate 80 through the hills of rural Pennsylvania. It\'s beautiful, but lonely, without a lot of places to stop.

On this trip, with a little help from Google and Apple, I was determined to stay caffeinated and maybe find somewhere else to eat besides McDonald\'s and truck stops.

We had two iPhones and two Android phones between us, allowing me to test Google Maps on both the iPhone and Android and Apple\'s own mapping app for the iPhone. (There\'s no Apple app on Android.) These apps all have turn-by-turn voice navigation and will nag you with new directions if you make a wrong turn or try to go off-course.

I tested out the Google and Apple mapping apps before, but focused on how their walking and public-transportation functions worked in New York City. I wanted to see how they performed for driving and outside of the comfort of a major metropolitan area.

But mainly, I wanted to see how Google Maps fared compared with Apple\'s Maps, which kicked Google Maps off the iPhone in September. That meant Google had no mapping app on the iPhone until it released a replacement in December. Google Maps with voice navigation has been on Android phones since 2009. I also wanted to see if the Android and iPhone versions have all the same bells and whistles. (Spoiler alert: They don\'t).

We set off from New York with our easily bored 3-year-old daughter strapped in the back seat. I fired up the phones and set courses for my parents\' home in Haslett, Michigan (just outside Lansing, for those too lazy to Google it).

The two versions of Google Maps and the Apple software pretty much gave me the same directions and time estimate _ just over 10 hours, though we were planning on 12 with stops.

We usually take a break at a Panera Bread bakery about an hour into Pennsylvania, but our daughter was napping and we weren\'t really hungry. So we threw ourselves at the mercy of Google and Apple and hoped that they would find us something in an hour or two.

As we wound through the hills, with my husband driving, I watched the little blue arrows on my phones move across the state and checked out the different features each mapping

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