At long last, the long wait for the return of Google Maps on iOS is over.

Moments ago, AllThingsD reported that Google Maps for iOS was set to launch as soon as tonight. And indeed, Google has now finally released the official iOS app for its popular mapping system, complete with turn-by-turn directions, search syncing, and, of course, Street View.

Google Maps itself had been the infrastructure behind Apple’s Maps app since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. That was up until the release of iOS 6 last September, when Apple decided to come out with its own mapping solution.

But since then, Apple’s own Maps app has received widespread criticism for its various inaccuracies. This criticism prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a public apology for the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time product. It also led to the firing of Apple’s iOS head, Scott Forstall, and its maps manager, Richard Williamson.

Google Maps

One of the most recent issues to befall Apple’s Maps app is the misdirection experienced by motorists in Victoria, Australia. Apparently, after following what’s shown in the app, they ended up being stranded in Murray Sunset National Park instead of arriving safely at the city of Mildura.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung, which has a history of either duplicating or making fun of Apple’s ad campaigns, has taken advantage of this recent issue. In its new ad installation in Sydney, Samsung advises users to “get navigation you can trust” by getting one of its flagship smartphones, which has Google Maps preinstalled.

Well, if you’re really dependent on Google Maps, you won’t have to buy a Samsung Galaxy S III or whatnot now that the service is already natively available on your beloved iDevice.

Designed for iPhone and iPod touch, and already optimized for iPhone 5 and the fifth-generation iPod touch, Google Maps for iOS is available now in the App Store for free. Download it now and give it a go, but do check back later here on AppAdvice for our full review of this much-awaited app.