Today rumors emerged that Google is in the process of developing their very own navigation app for smartphones running the Android OS. It’s not clear if the application would be more robust than the iPhone’s current Google Map application and offer turn-by-turn directions, but given that they own the Android OS, and can essentially do whatever they want, it’s more likely than not.
Providing greater credence to the rumor is that Google just discontinued their relationship with Tele Atlas earlier this October, which charged Google for use of their map info – Google has a contract with them until 2013 to work on International maps. The break away from the map service provider indicates that Google has amassed enough map data over the years to go at it alone and in all likelihood offer an ad supported free version.
How this will play out with US carriers is another story – they profit from charging for turn-by-turn directions – since they could very well stop offering phones with the Android OS. But that would probably result in what will be perceived as business suicide, especially seeing as the Android OS is the #1 competitor to Apple’s iPhone OS, something only AT&T has access to at this point. As to whether or not this will impact the iPhone’s Google Map offering is not clear, but since Apple profits off the sales of other map applications in their iTunes app store, it’s highly unlikely that well see a free Google Maps version in the app store with a turn-by-turn feature.