After getting the boot as the default mapping application on iOS devices with the introduction of iOS 6, Google Maps returned to the App Store in December with a new look, new features, and it quickly won back user mindshare and massive adoption. And today, it won something else, too: the Crunchie for the Best Mobile Application.
The runner-up was Evernote, which also had an amazing year. But don’t feel too bad for them – Evernote won last year.
The Google Maps Crunchie was presented on stage by Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha and GigaOm’s Tom Krazit. You can watch in the live stream here.
It was a tough year to pick just one great app – after all, there are now over 800,000 iOS applications and over 700,000 on Android, to give you an idea of scale. But Google got a lot of things right with the re-introduction of Maps on iOS this year, moving the ball forward in terms of design and feature set. The app is beautiful, fast, and smooth, offering things like turn-by-turn navigation, business listings and reviews from Google+ Local, walking and transit directions, traffic information and more. It also makes smart use of gestures. TechCrunch gave it two “fly”‘s in “Fly or Die,” and the app saw download numbers startups can only dream about: over 10 million users installed Google Maps for iOS in the first 48 hours.
Of course, Google Maps also really shines on Android, where it, too, received a big upgrade over the summer in advance of Apple’s news. That release brought a tons of new and improved features as well, including better 3D views for Google Earth and offline maps. It also introduced Street View Trekker, which puts StreetView cameras into a backpack, allowing Google to capture incredible images of places where Street View cars can’t go. For example, Google just announced it has 9,500 Grand Canyon panoramas in Maps now. Expect to see more of this on mobile in the future.
Other apps nominated for the Best Mobile App this year were Grindr, Instagram, and Square.