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Google Maps Web App Now Offers Street View Functionality to iPhone Users

As iPhone users lament over the absence of a quality map application on their brand new iPhone 5 or iOS 6 upgrade, Google has been hard at work trying to offer the best possible mapping experience in the form of their Google Maps web app. Google, as of Thursday, has updated their Google Maps Web app to include Street View, a key feature for all Google Maps users. A feature routinely used on the desktop version of Google Maps has been added to make up for the lack of coverage by Apple's new map application. This implementation is limited however, since it too is still only available in select areas around the world.

In upgrading to the most recent iOS 6, users were disappointed to find out that the supposed groundbreaking Apple Maps application was in fact a step backwards, with no option to revert to the old Google Maps app found on previous versions of iOS. Google's web app solves this problem, albeit with limited functionality. Until Google is ready to officially release their full fledged maps application to the App Store, it seems users are forced to take a step back and settle for a slimmed down desktop version of Google Maps for all their directional needs.

There are a couple of ways to access the Google Maps web app, and additionally the "new" street views. One can navigate to in Safari and a message link will pop up, instructing you to use the "Add to Home Screen" feature in order to place a direct link on your device. A second option is to search for a location using Safari's search bar and click on the corresponding mini map that shows up as a Google result.

Upon opening or navigating to Google's web app, users will see the familiar stick figure icon in the bottom right corner of the display, seen when using the desktop version of Google Maps. Clicking this icon will enable a trimmed down Street View, where users can explore the area as they would using Google Maps on their computer.

For now, functionality is limited as you are currently unable to zoom in and out of areas, and the coverage for Street View pales in comparison to the full desktop version. However, this is a viable alternative to Apple's flyover, and in some cases the only alternative if you reside in an area not covered by flyover.

With hundred's of thousands of apps in the App Store, can a web app truly be the best alternative to Apple's lackluster maps application? Surely this will benefit the "little guy" when it comes to map app developers, if not provide them with a small window of opportunity to fill a massive void left by Apple.

What have you resorted to for all your mapping needs during this Google Maps transition period? [via AppleInsider, via iClarified]

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