Google released its much anticipated Google Maps application Thursday morning, restoring the search company’s mapping system to the iPhone platform and giving iPhone users a taste of Android.

In addition to bringing back the Google maps engine and database, the app also features Google’s Streetview that provides street level photographs taken by roving Google mapping vehicles.

Google’s map application feels very much like software does on its Android mobile phone platform, giving users of the iPhone a taste of what it’s like to use an Android device. Earlier this month Google released a new version of its Gmail app for iOS that also features an Android look and feel. The user interface strategy is not unlike what Apple did with its iTunes software, making their iTunes application on Windows very “Mac-like.”

Google supplied the maps for the prior versions of the iPhone operating system, but was booted off the platform earlier this year when Apple released version 6 of its iOS operating system. Apple decided to rely less on its competitor for a key component of its operating system and make its own mapping application that has been universally panned by critics and users alike for its lack of accuracy. The fiasco led to an apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook and the firing of Scott Forstall, the executive who was in charge of the entire iOS software platform.

Google Maps works on the iPhone and iPod touch and can be downloaded for free on the iTunes app store.

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