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Google Maps snares 10M downloads on iOS App Store

Makes up for months off iPhone with 48-hour return rush

Google on Monday said that iOS users had downloaded more than 10 million copies of its revamped Maps app in the first two days of availability.

Google launched Maps late last Wednesday, returning the app to the iPhone after a three-month forced absence. Apple dropped Google Maps from iOS -- where it had owned a prime piece of digital real estate since 2007 -- with the release of iOS 6 on Sept. 19.

"We're excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world," said Jeff Huber, the Google executive who leads its Commerce & Local division, in a message on Google+ as he announced over 10 million downloads in Maps' first 48 hours.

Shortly after its launch last week, Google Maps claimed the top spot on the list of most-downloaded free apps for the iPhone, a position it has yet to relinquish.

Apple does not disclose download tallies of individual apps, and touts cumulative figures only at major milestones. The last such boast was in March 2012, when Apple said more than 25 billion apps had been downloaded from the e-mart since its 2008 opening, and awarded a Chinese customer a $10,000 iTunes gift card for grabbing the 25 billionth app.

Its early success should have been no surprise: iOS users have clamored for a return since Apple replaced Maps with own technology, a move that immediately raised howls of protest and a week later prompted an apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook.

But although Google returned to the iPhone with a vengeance, there's no guarantee that it will be there forever. Last week, analyst Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, noting that while it would have been a public relations disaster for Apple to refuse Google Maps admission to the App Store now, it could bar the program in the future if it made the case that its own technology was better than, or at least matched, Google's.

Google Maps can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected].

Read more about web apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.

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