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TheStreet Open House

Google Maps No Longer Embarrass Apple Maps

Stocks in this article: AAPLGOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Maybe I'm a bit too excited, but I toggle between Apple's (AAPL) Maps application and Google (GOOG) Maps multiple times a day, seven days a week. So, I notice even small changes.

When Apple Maps came out, it was horrible. Tim Cook should have never released it in its original condition. Steve Jobs would have been furious. At least slap a "beta" next to its name, like Apple did with Siri.

But, today, and presumably after the iOS 7 update, Apple Maps has come into its own. Despite the lingering absence of transit directions (at last check, Apple still suggests Google Maps and other "routing" apps), I now prefer to Apple over Google.

When I'm in Manhattan I don't use Google Maps for transit directions anyhow. I use the fair superior KickMap. And, in Southern California, I drive, bike and walk everywhere I go. I need an app most often for driving (80% of the time) and biking directions.

In my experience, I "randomly" select Apple or Google from my "travel" folder. Basically it's whatever one my eye sees and finger hits first. If it accomplishes the task, fantastic, I stop there. However, about half the time my initial selection underperforms. There some sort of deficiency that sends me running from Google to Apple or vice versa.

After the release of Apple Maps, I almost always had to ditch Apple for Google. It got so bad I went a month or two rarely even firing up Apple Maps. When it got us briefly lost on a Thanksgiving vacation, I gave up. When I started reusing Apple Maps, probably at the beginning of the year, I saw only minor improvements. But I kept with it, if for no other reason, to see if it was ever going to get better.

Over time, it has.

In the last week, I have noticed a marked improvement in Apple Maps I can only attribute to the iOS 7 upgrade. The example I provide in this article illustrates what I meant last week when I wrote Apple Wasted Its Time Making Over iOS 7. The cosmetic changes, as ho-hum as they are, feel a lot like change for the sake of change. Apple has nailed the mobile experience for millions of us; now they just have to tweak it to make it better and easier to use.

The screenshot on page two, taken Tuesday morning, as I was loading directions to a Pandora (P) event I attended (details on that at another time) that night, excited the living heck out of me. And I'm not even a total tech geek.

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