Google Maps Updates: iPhone 2.2, Korea and, um, Pegman

Google Maps has now come to South Korea, but only from the Korean version of Google Maps (compare this view of Seoul with this one). This is apparently due to Korean export restrictions on mapping data. Via Google Maps Mania.

Meanwhile, the controls for Google Maps have been redesigned: they’re cleaner and on the left rather than the right. They also include a draggable icon for direct access to Street View, which Google calls its mascot, “Pegman” (hoo boy). This is an evolutionary change; it’s a bit much to call it a major redesign.

Finally, the iPhone 2.2 software update last week included upgrades to the included Google Maps application — notably, the addition of Street View and transit and walking directions. The iPod touch 2.2 update, however, did not, which has led to a number of guesses as to why this was the case, from product differentiation to usability issues. But my money’s on the accounting rules that mean new features are free for the iPhone but cost money for the iPod, because the two devices’ revenues are accounted for differently (Sarbanes-Oxley and all that). I think adding Street View would have constituted — or was deemed to constitute — something more than a bug fix, which led to its omission.