Google has sent out a ‘test’ version of its new mapping app, reports The Wall Street Journal. This test version of the iOS app has apparently been seeded to ‘some individuals outside of the company’.

The app is having ‘finishing touches’ put on it before it is submitted for approval to the App Store, according to the source in the article. None of this is all that surprising, as the app has been rumored for some time.

But there was one very intriguing bit of info, namely that the app will have navigation:

The forthcoming Google Maps app for the iPhone is expected to contain turn-by-turn navigation that would allow people to use it like a GPS device while driving, said the person familiar with the matter. The turn-by-turn navigation feature didn’t exist in the previous Apple-device version, partly because of various disagreements between the companies over other aspects of the Apple-controlled app.

Some folks had assumed that, since the Google Maps app for Android has had Navigation for some time, and that it is quite good, Google would withhold it as an advantage point for its own platform. If this report is accurate, that isn’t true. Instead, Google is looking to bring the full force of its mapping prowess to bear on iOS.

Personally, I think it only makes sense for Google to bring its A-game to iOS. If it’s going to launch a mapping app on the iPhone then it needs to show exactly how much of a grip it has on the mapping industry in bold style. Google has been doing this a lot longer than Apple, and is a lot better at it. Displaying this on the iPhone will do nothing to hurt Google in the long run. Instead, it can act as a brand ambassador for Android. “If our maps are this good, how good is the rest of our OS? Come and see!”

And any rumors you’ve heard about Apple not approving a Google Maps app for iOS are likely bogus. I’ve heard nothing of the sort and it makes no sense for Apple to do so. First, it gives people with an iPhone a viable alternative, alleviating some of the pressure they have to fix Maps so quickly. Second, it allows them to play the mapping game on an even playing field, putting forth their, eventually, improved version of Maps in a head-to-head battle.

Shouldn’t be too long now.

Image Credit: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images