Not only was it questionable whether this would ever see the light of day, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be available this soon.
Apple, the iPhone, and iOS 6 have taken a huge hit with the poor reputation of iOS 6 Maps. Google and Android have been benefitting immensely.
What this timing really shows is how much Google needs to be on iOS. They’re primarily in the business of reaching as many people as possible so they can build up as much data and advertise to as many bodies1 as possible. Android is an insurance policy against their profitable businesses being locked out of other platforms, not an important profit center itself.
But Android isn’t big enough yet, especially among people who use their phones as pocket computers. As much as Android was benefitting from iOS’ Maps misfortune, Google’s much more important businesses were hurting too much by not being on iOS. That’s why this app was developed at all and released so quickly.
And since Apple was also hurting so badly, I bet they didn’t give Google a hard time getting this app approved quickly.
I’ve always found the buzzword “eyeballs” dehumanizing, so I’m testing alternatives to attempt to convey that we’re not just disrespected body parts: we’re disrespected people. Ad brokers may help themselves to my experimental terminology. ↩