Google announced earlier today that they would release a beta of Google Maps Navigation, a free service bundled with Google Maps for Android 2.0 when the new Motorola Droid phone is launched by Verizon next week. Google said that they would be willing to bring it to the iPhone, but implied Apple was standing in the way.
Google Maps Navigation will be a feature of Google Maps on the Droid, providing such functions as turn-by-turn directions, voice recognition and Google Street View.
"Mobile platforms--Android and others--are so powerful now that you can build client apps that can do magical things connected to the cloud," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said.
Google said they would be working with Apple on bringing the app to the iPhone. Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, said that the development process was different in this case because Google Maps is a built-in iPhone application, he said. He also indicated the software has “stringent” hardware requirements and may not run on older Android phones.
Google and Apple have come into conflict recently over a number of apps - like Google Voice and Google Latitude - that Apple claims duplicate the "core functionality of the iPhone. Google Maps Navigation may fall into the same category.
"Apple is a close partner," a Google spokesperson told AppleInsider Wednesday. "Millions of users experience Google Maps on the iPhone. We will continue to work with Apple to bring innovation, including Latitude and Navigation, to users but you'll have to speak to Apple about availability."
Google is also unclear on whether existing Android phones will be able to run Google Maps Navigation even after they are upgraded to Android 2.0. Gundotra indicated that would depend on the carrier and on the particular phone manufacturer.