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With an embarrassed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) facing criticism for its maps switch, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is using the period of unexpected bad press about its main platform rival to announce improvements to its own navigation system. On Thursday, Google launched its biggest update to Street View data, adding 250,000 miles of roads and doubling the collections that provide details about places of interest.
“Street View, as you know, is a useful resource when you’re planning a route or looking for a destination, but it can also magically transport you to some of the world’s picturesque and culturally significant landmarks,” Ulf Spitzer, the Google Maps Street View program manager, wrote on the company’s blog. The application has added data in the U.S., Great Britain, Macau, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Denmark, Norway, and Canada and launched special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil, and Mexico, among others.
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Apple replaced the Google Maps app on iOS devices with its homegrown program alongside the release of iOS 6 last month. Google reacted by adding Street View functionality to its mobile browser maps program, but has been ambivalent about any plans to build and launch a downloadable standalone iOS app. The iPhone maker’s new program does not have a Street View-like feature, but it has been more widely criticized for its data errors, lack of details, and absence of transit options.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook apologized with a public letter for the glitches and the company has been releasing updates that fix some of the errors. However, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in an interview on Wednesday night that he believed Apple should’ve stuck to the former’s system. “Apple should have kept our maps,” Schmidt said in an interview to AllThingsD. “The fact of the matter is they decided a long time ago to do its own maps … What Apple has learned is that maps are really hard.”
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