Google Maps return to the iPhone

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Google Maps has found its way back to the iPhone.

The world's most popular online mapping system returned late Wednesday with the release of the Google Maps iPhone app.

The release comes nearly three months after Apple Inc. replaced Google Maps as the device's built-in navigation system and inserted its own map software into the latest version of its mobile operating system. But the Apple system proved to be far inferior to Google's.

The product's shoddiness prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a public apology and recommend that iPhone owners consider using Google maps through a mobile Web browser or seek other alternatives until his company could fix the problems.

Cook also replaced the executive in charge of Apple's mobile operating system, after the company's maps app became the subject of widespread ridicule.

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Among other things, Apple's maps misplaced landmarks, overlooked towns and sometimes got people horribly lost. In one example brought to light this week, Australian police derided Apple's maps as "life-threatening" because the system steered people looking for the city of Mildura into a sweltering, remote desert 44 miles from their desired destination.

Google Inc., in contrast, is hailing its new iPhone app as a major improvement from the one evicted by Apple. -- AP

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