Review: FutureTap Street View

by on March 18, 2013

With iOS 6, Apple moved away from Google Maps as its source for map tiles. Building a new mapping system from scratch is no small task, and the public was quite critical. Eventually Google released its own Google Maps app for iOS and Apple’s own mapping system has gotten quite good. Besides public transit information, Maps also lost the ability to show Google’s Street View panoramic photography. If you opt to not use the Google Maps app, FutureTap is offering a standalone app, dubbed Street View, which integrates with Apple Maps and sells for 99¢.

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The first thing that came to mind in regards to Street View is why you’d use this option over the free, complete Google Maps app. We do think this very cheap app will appeal to anyone who is happy with Apple’s own mapping service, but might also want to explore their surroundings on the ground (as opposed to Flyover) in a very simple and iOS-like wrapper. Unlike Google’s own apps, which still feel a bit out of place on iOS, Street View looks and acts like something that may have come from Cupertino. The initial view is MapKit view, complete with the choice of standard, satellite, or hybrid maps. Once you place a pin on a location you’d like, switching from map view to street view is pretty simple. Furthermore, if you use FutureTap’s Where To?, Street View integrates seamlessly.

Although it has a nice interface and seems to be a very lightweight app, launching Street View from within Maps is a bit clunky, since it hooks in to the third-party public transit resources, as mentioned by FutureTap:

How can I launch Street View from Maps app?

  • Tap the directions button.
  • Select the bus icon, then tap “Route”.
  • Select “Street View”.
  • If Street View is not listed there, please check that both your current location and the destination pin are in a country covered by Street View. If this is the case, try rebooting your device.
  • View the panorama, then go back to “Maps”.

It’s not the smoothest action, but nice that it is an option. A button in the upper-left corner will appear to return you to the Maps app when you launch Street View in this manner. Also, FutureTap claims that Street View pulls data that is actually higher resolution than the Google Maps app, which does seem to be true. Some other notable features include a mini map for spotting your location while exploring the panoramic scenery and gallery places, which are views of notable landmarks (there are about 300).

Still, for about a buck, Street View is a great option to pair Google Street View and Apple Maps. If you’re already a fan of Google Maps and its associated iPhone app, you may want to skip this app. If you like Apple Maps, use an iPad, or want a dedicated app, Street View may be worth checking out.

The One-Sentence Verdictâ„¢

Street View is a simple fix if you miss the built-in street view functionality previously provided by Google.

Pros: Simple interface, integrates with Apple Maps, iPad compatible
Cons: Similar content available for free with Google Maps app
Rating: 7/10

The Facts

Product: Street View
Company: FutureTap
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad – iOS 6 or later
Price: 99¢ (iTunes Link)

This post has been filed in iOS Apps, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Devices, Reviews