Well, this isn’t necessarily true, as Google has just announced a new Google Maps feature that has actually been available for Apple Maps users for several years already.
Thanks to the new air quality layer that can be enabled on Google Maps, users can see the Air Quality Index (AQI) right on the map, therefore figuring out how healthy or unhealthy the air in a specific region is in just a few seconds. In the U.S., the data is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and PurpleAir, Google says.
As for who did it first, the answer is as simple as it could be: Apple.
While Google originally previewed the AQI integration in Google Maps in March 2021, Apple actually integrated similar information in Apple Maps with the release of iOS 12.2 beta. This particular testing build of the iPhone operating system went live in January 2019.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean much because there’s a chance Google ends up doing it better anyway. Google Maps will most likely bring the AQI layer to users worldwide much faster than Apple, as the air quality information in Apple Maps continues to be available in the U.S. and in a few other countries out there.
This isn’t necessarily a surprise, though, as Apple has always prioritized the U.S. and other large regions, with the broad availability of new features sometimes taking years to be reached.