Apple's Map Links still go to Google on Macs and PCs

There have been many complaints about the data behind Apple’s new Maps app, and they are all certainly valid. However, my mother pointed out one non-data shortcoming that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere. When she goes on a trip, she likes to map out the directions on her computer, review the route, and then send those directions to her iPhone.

In iOS 5, clicking that link would open up the Maps app. However, with iOS 6, clicking that link instead opens Google’s website in Safari. That makes sense to me technically, but it is certainly a step backwards for users. So, it got me thinking: “how does Apple handle the new URL scheme they’ve got with iOS 6?”

According to this developer document, you can open the new Maps app, centered on Cupertino with this URL: 

http://maps.apple.com/maps?q=cupertino

Likewise, you can open up directions in the new Maps app using a link formed like this:

http://maps.apple.com/maps?daddr=San+Francisco,+CA&saddr=cupertino   

Indeed, on my new iPhone, loading those links in Safari automatically opens the Maps app. However, when loading those links on a PC, you are redirected to Google Maps. Maybe this had already been revealed, but it is news to me.

You may have noticed that those URLs look very familiar. In fact, Apple’s Maps URL scheme very closely mimics Google’s. It is so close, that you can take any link to a Google Map, replace the “google” in the URL with “apple,” send it to an iPhone, and voila, the Maps app will automatically open up. (Enormous caveat being that you will then get Apple’s directions, not Google’s).