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Review: IPhone Google Maps Lags Android Version

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 program offered.

The Android version of Google Maps has the most toys and the most beautiful graphics. The bars and dry cleaners visible on its street maps of New York get replaced by the names of rivers and small-town roads in the distance.

By comparison, both iPhone apps seem bare bones, which isn't too surprising as the Android app had a head start of three years. Apple's fancy 3-D graphics largely melt away when you get out of the city.

The Android version allows me to select "layers" for my map showing such things as traffic and nearby businesses.

The restaurant layer proved very helpful when my daughter started getting cranky and we needed to make an unplanned stop.

The traffic layer, which lights up in red, yellow and green depending on the amount of traffic, also was particularly helpful on the way back to New York. It warned us of a monster backup on the George Washington Bridge and estimated how long that would delay us in case we wanted to take an alternate route. We took our chances with the bridge. While the delay wasn't quite as bad as we feared it would be, it was definitely helpful to know about it ahead of time.

The iPhone version of Google Maps doesn't offer layers at all. And while the Apple software does offer some traffic information, you can't see it in the form of a layer when you're in navigation mode as you can with the Android version.

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