Take the long way home… with Google Maps for iOS

So, I’m known to be an Apple fan, but not a fanboy. But I don’t think that’s why I’m noting that I for one am not ditching my Apple Maps app for iOS for Google just yet.

I’ve been running an interesting (to me) experiment with the two, along with INRIX traffic on my phone. I haven’t had to use Google Maps much yet for directions, but I have used it on my commute to tell me how the traffic is and when I might actually pull into my parking garage and get into the office.

And so far – Apple Maps is killing Google when it comes to giving me the right time when I am farthest from the office – and in fact, Google has been nothing short of atrocious.

Wednesday morning, leaving my house, I was informed slightly depressingly by Apple that I was going to be at my office 1 hour, 1 minute later. INRIX was less optimistic, at about 1 hour, 3 minutes. But Google had me panicking by letting me know that actually we were looking at a 1 hour, 24 minute ride – to the point where I considered adding about 10 miles to my ride as it suggested to take a route that would get me down to 1 hour, 10 minutes.

But I stayed the course, and lo and behold, as I got closer to Boston, the time improved on Google, all the way to, wait for it, 1 hour, 1 minute when I was about 2 miles from the office. (Of course, at that point, I didn’t need an app to tell me how much longer it would be.

So I scored a victory for Apple and moved on. But on the reverse ride, it happened again. Apple was almost on the mark and Google was about 15 minutes off in its estimate. And Thursday AM. And Thursday PM. And Friday. And Friday night, going to a different destination – same result.

The old Google Maps didn’t have this issue. But then again, maybe Google is thinking like the restaurant maitre d’ who tells you it will be 30 minutes for your table and seats you in 15. You feel like you saved time and it makes you happy. If this is a feature, I’m not sure I’m a fan.

Or maybe they’re just wrong.


  1. says

    I’ve found that Apple Maps works well around the Greater Boston area. But work brings me to very rural areas of Vermont frequently, not to mention other rural areas around the eastern seaboard, and I experience significant suckage probably 50% of the time. Google doesn’t always get it right, granted, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed an address into Apple Maps and it can’t find my location. I also find that Google is much better when it comes to corrections – meaning, if I type “East Hampton Street” and the street is actually “Easthampton Street,” Google is smart enough to figure that out. Apple Maps, on the other hand, sits there like a belligerent five-year-old who refuses to do what I’m telling it to do. Exceptionally frustrating.

    • tmcenroe says

      That is definitely a frustrating problem with Apple Maps. I did spend about two weeks with Apple Maps trying to convince it that the Arlington St. I needed to get to was in Back Bay, not Hyde Park. No matter what I did, including putting in the zip code, Maps wanted to take me to Hyde Park. Finally, I apparently wore it down and was allowed to get information on travel times to Back Bay. I’m not going to say Apple Maps is perfect, but Google has frustrated me as well, with an issue that didn’t exist when Google Maps was baked into iOS.

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