Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt poses with the Nexus 7 tablet at its promotional event in Tokyo
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt poses with the Nexus 7 tablet at its promotional event in Tokyo

In the backdrop of reported geographical errors and distorted images displayed on the indigenously developed Apple's Maps app, Google Inc on Tuesday said that it is yet to make up its mind on providing its mapping service for iPhone 5.

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expressed the company's desire to continue its ties with Apple, which dropped the search-engine giant's popular mapping system in favour of its home-developed alternative app on iPhone 5.  

"We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?" Schmidt said according to Reuters. "What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."

Schmidt said Google and Apple were in constant communication "at all kinds of levels." But he said any decision on whether Google Maps would be accepted as an application in the Apple App Store would have to be made by Apple.

"We have not done anything yet," he said.

Google and Apple were close partners with the original iPhone in 2007 and its inclusion of YouTube and Google Maps. But the ties between the two were strained by the rise of Google's Android mobile operating system, which is now the world's leading platform for smartphones.

Schmidt said he hoped Google would remain Apple's search partner on the iPhone but said that it was up to Apple.

"I'm not doing any predictions. We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I'm not going to speculate at all what they're going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit," he said.

Google provides Android free of charge and allows developers to add applications on an open basis, betting that by cultivating a bigger pool of users - now at over 500 million globally - it can make more money by providing search functions and selling advertising.

"Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher," Schmidt said, adding that success was often ignored by the media, which he said was "obsessed with Apple's marketing events and Apple's branding."

"That's great for Apple but the numbers are on our side," he said.

At one point, Schmidt, who was in Japan to announce the launch of Google's Nexus tablet there, used the device to show off a new function of Google Maps.

The feature allows users to shift their view of an area by moving the device in the air without touching the screen, similar to the effect of looking around.

"Take that Apple," he said, adding quickly, "That was a joke by the way."

The sixth-generation iPhone 5 runs on iOS 6, which packs new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography replacing the erstwhile Google Maps service. The Cupertino firm's ambitious attempt was castigated by the users for its glaring errors.

Apple built its new Maps app based on the data provided by digital map maker TomTom NV. The maps app displayed geographical errors, misplaced towns and cities and melting bridges.

The glaring flawed images forced Washington State Department of Transportation Department (WSDOT) to clarify that Tacoma Narrows Bridges was not melting as shown in the iOS 6 Maps app.

"Although #ios6 may say differently, we can assure you that the Tacoma Narrows Bridges have not melted," WSDOT wrote on twitter along with an image of Tacoma Narrows Bridges, which is dubbed as "Galloping Gertie."

After upgrading their devices to iOS 6 or a new iPhone 5, users have to use its latest maps app, given that Google maps app is not currently available in Apple's App store.

However, the Google maps are still accessible from the phone's web browser.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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