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Report: Google hopes to have Maps app on iPhone by end of year

Maps
Apple's new Maps app has received harsh criticism since it appeared in iOS 6.Rosa Golijan / NBC News

With so much drama around the Maps app in the latest iPhone software upgrade, people are excited about a report that Google should have a new iOS Maps app out by year's end.

In iOS 6, Apple's newly released mobile operating system upgrade, the Cupertino-based company decided to do away with the Maps app created by Google and replaced it with its own version. While the change has clear strategic advantages — why should Apple give its chief competitor a featured spot on the iOS home screen — people were justifiably riled up because Apple's new Maps app is still in its infancy (despite being powered by TomTom's widely used Tele Atlas maps). 

Though the furor got out of hand — for most people, the maps work fine and the app brings a free turn-by-turn navigation service to the iPhone for the first time — Apple's solution is not as solid as Google's well-established version. There were some pitchforks, there were some torches, and there were a lot of dramatic blog posts.

If people are finally calming down, it's at least in part to do with the fact that they aren't limited to the apps which are built into iOS 6 as well as the likelihood that Google will develop a new Maps app for iOS. And now, according to a report in the New York Times, that is indeed what is happening.

Google is building this app for the iPhone (and iPad), and is "seeking to finish by the end of the year," says the Times' report. The delay is in part due to the fact that Google wants to build a pretty 3-D version of its Maps for Apple users, says the report, and may consider combining the existing Google Earth app for iPhone with the new Maps app.

This information comes via "people involved with the effort who declined to be named because of the nature of their work," so naturally a small amount of skepticism should be maintained.

As far as any official word goes, all we know is that on Tuesday, during a press event in Tokyo, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that that the company had "not done anything yet" in regards to a Google Maps app for iOS. This could easily to posturing (why not sell a few more Android phones while the anger is high?). 

Any decision regarding whether a Google Maps app would be accepted into the Apple App Store would have to be made by Apple, Schmidt explained, according to Reuter's Kevin Krolicki, but since Apple permits many would-be competing apps from Google, Amazon and others, it seems likely that a Google Maps app would go through just fine. 

So what do you do while twiddling your thumbs and waiting for Google to make its move (and for Apple to hopefully approve of that move)? You can use an alternative app or the Web version of Google Maps.

Or you can just tough it out with Apple's new Maps app.

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