Google Maps for iPhone is out, and it’s a solid replacement for Apple’s Maps app in iOS 6. Jailbreakers can make Google Maps the default maps app on their iPhones, but everyone else has to deal with the fact that Apple will never let you fully replace its own Maps with Google’s. It’s a shame, but it’s the walled iOS garden we all live in.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use Siri to get directions with Google Maps, however. You don’t even need to jailbreak. There’s a simple trick that makes it possible.
Apple has baked a little hook into Siri that lets you open an address in any one of the App Store’s third-party mapping apps. Simply add “via transit” to the end of your voice command to Siri. So, for instance, say “Give me directions to Apple Inc. via transit” and Siri will open a list of available maps apps besides Apple’s own. You can quickly open any third-party app you have installed on your iPhone or download one from the App Store. The trick is that your iPhone will think you want public transit directions, so you’ll have to make sure to toggle through car or walking if that’s what you need.
The above process isn’t as smooth as using Apple Maps because you have to tap the screen once to open the Google Maps app. But it’s better than nothing if you use Siri to find where you’re going.
Here’s a nice little video demonstration of this tip in action:
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