The Google Maps app comes standard on every one of the over 40 million iPhone and iTouch units sold in the past two years and presumably is one the device‚Äôs most widely used apps. In fact, with all the traffic and usage that runs through the Google Maps app it is surprising that Google has yet to incorporate a money making scheme into its uber-popular app. Well, the surprise has been blown. Courtesy of Google, you might see a few night club and food joint ads next time you look up directions to mom‚Äôs house. Fortunately, as of right now, the ads themselves are not as obstructive to carrying out tasks as some ads are on certain internet sites (*cough* Pandora *cough*). What is important, however, is that their presence in every iPhone and iTouch as well as the fact that they‚Äôre simply funneling money into Google‚Äôs pockets may carry some long-term implications for an already shaky Apple-Google relationship.
In a recent development, Apple purchased its own mapping service company, Placebase. Their main product is know as PushPin. Although we may only speculate as to Placebase‚Äôs ultimate purpose, it wouldn‚Äôt be a stretch as of right now to assume that Apple is seeking to introduce an additional mapping app. So what does this mean for the default Google Maps app?
Technically speaking, Apple owns the actual app installed on its units whilst Google provides the maps and data services associated with maps. Whether Apple will choose to create its own unique map app or simply have Placebase replace Google‚Äôs map service completely ‚Äì the latter alternative an obvious cheek-numbing slap in Google‚Äôs direction ‚Äì remains a mystery. What is a given, however, is that Apple naturally has the last word regarding any iPhone/iTouch matters, giving it the power to regulate any Google incursions into its app market. Moreover, Apple could seek to capitalize on the opportunity of a widely used app and implement its own cash cow (just as Google is doing now), be it in the form of sponsored ads or otherwise. What this may mean for the troubled Apple-Google relationship is still uncertain, but it would definitely not be a mending influence.