The Google Maps SDK for iOS is now open to all
iOS developers—not just those who get
approval for API keys through Google.

The move almost guarantees more third-party iOS apps will use Google's data instead of Apple's, though it's still too early to tell whether the change will significantly affect Apple or the use of its own mapping APIs.

Google announced it had updated its SDK for
iOS in a blog post late Thursday, noting
updated support for ground overlays, gesture
control, and geodesic polylines. The company
didn't specifically discuss the increased
openness of its mapping API, but observers
were quick to notice—Google now makes its API
keys available to all iOS developers through its
API Console. This means developers who don't
want to use Apple's mapping API can use
Google's without having to apply and wait for

Google first announced its Maps SDK for iOS
last December, not long after Apple kicked the
mapping giant out of its iOS 6 Maps app.
Google released its own Maps app for iOS, too,
and made its (arguably superior) data store
available to third-party developers through the
SDK. Devs still can't use turn-by-turn
navigation in their apps while using Google's
SDK, but the increased access to Google's data
is sure to improve what is available to users on
the App Store..