In the spring of 2017, we reported that Google Maps would disappear from the Apple Watch. It could be seen as a real setback for Apple’s smartwatch, especially as not least Maps’ disappearance took place after apps such as Amazon, Ebay, Instagram and Tripadvisor had also been removed. But even then, we realised that this removal was really a good thing.
It made sense that Instagram disappeared from the Apple Watch – who wants to scroll their Instagram feed on their arm? Especially since the Watch version of the app could only show the last four or five images from Instagram. Instagram on Apple Watch was doomed from the start and probably everyone realised it.
The disappearance of Google Maps was perhaps more surprising in the beginning, but it has to be said that the first version of the Apple Watch app was a half-hearted attempt from the start. Now there is a chance to make a better app.
Google promised that a new version would be on the way and it kept that promise. That it took more than three years for the new app to appear is of course not so good.
In any case, the new Google Maps app for Apple Watch shows that Google did the right thing in removing the old app and replacing it with something better.
The new app shows navigation instructions directly on the arm, step by step. Routes can be started directly from the app, if they are saved as Home, Job or other types of shortcuts. Addresses cannot be entered currently. Perhaps at some point in the future this will be possible via voice input.
But in any case, it’s good that the Watch version of the Google Maps app does not try to do everything. As we wrote in 2017 regarding Apple Watch development early development:
“Developers rushed to launch apps before anyone knew what we would actually use the watch for. Notices and health features? Absolutely. But to shop on Ebay and tweet from your arm? Hardly.”
Google has simply developed a map app that is adapted for the platform, and it is nothing more than an acknowledgment of the Apple Watch. Although it took five years for Google to get it right.
It also shows that the Apple Watch is still a good smartwatch, although the focus on health features has become significantly greater in recent years. Google Maps makes good use of a wrist-mounted screen providing easily accessible information and fast interactions.
Sometimes it takes a little time to come to the right decision, but it got better anyway.
If you are wondering how Google Maps and Apple Maps compare read this.
This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden.