Apple has begun replacing Google Maps with its own mapping technology on iCloud.com, specifically in the Web-based "Find My iPhone" device location service.
iCloud.com -- the website where Apple customers can access synched calendars, contacts, email; the iWork suite; and Find My iPhone -- was one of the last locales in Apple's empire that used Google Maps.
Apple pulled Google's mapping technology and baked-in app from iOS in 2012, swapping in its own then-troubled substitute. Later it replaced Google Maps in the iOS Find My iPhone app. And last fall, Apple added an Apple Maps stand-alone application to OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks.
On the iCloud.com beta site, Find My iPhone Web app now uses Apple Maps rather than Google Maps, Computerworld confirmed. 9to5Mac.com noted the change earlier Tuesday. According to other reports, some users of the non-beta version of iCloud.com have also seen the changeover to Apple Maps.
Instructions for using Find My iPhone -- which contrary to the name also locates a user's iPads and Macs -- can be found on Apple's support website.
Analysts have said that Apple parted ways with Google over mapping and turn-by-turn navigation to control its own destiny, realizing it could have been left high and dry if its rival decided to pull Google Maps from the iPhone.
Although Google Maps was forced to take a three-month hiatus from iOS in 2012 when Apple switched to its own technology -- Google needed the time to create a stand-alone app -- it returned to the App Store with a vengeance in December 2012.
Google Maps still holds a large lead in the U.S. over Apple Maps. According to comScore, Google Maps was used by 44.3% of all iOS and Android smartphone owners in May, the latest month for which data was available. Apple Maps' "reach" was only 25.3%. In that same month, 41.9% of all smartphone owners had an iPhone, indicating that not all iPhone users relied exclusively on Apple Maps.
Google Maps and Apple Maps have each had a consistent 'reach' -- the percentage of all Android and iOS users who ran the apps -- in the last six months: Google has never fallen below 41%, Apple has cracked 25% just once. (Data: comScore.)
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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