Apple seems to have made a mistake by launching Apple Maps way too early. To be true there is no real competition for Google Maps in the market and it will take years for Apple to improve its Maps to Google Maps level
By Shafey Danish
Apple introduced Google Maps in iOS in 2007 with the launch of the first iPhone. Since then, maps has become one of the key feature of the platform. Also, a driver of many related apps and location based services. Yelp, the restaurant ratings site, for example depends on the location data provided by maps. In future maps are also set to provide targeted advertisements to users based on location. Since 2007 , Google has gone from being a collaborator to a competitor and it has kept crucial services, like turn by turn navigation on Android, making iOS lag behind its competitor. Put all of this together and it is easy to see why Apple wanted control of this crucial piece of software.
But it could have done a much better job than it did.
It had been working on making a map application of its own since 2009, if its company purchases are any indication. And yet, in 2012, with a year still to go on its contract with Google, it released a maps app that is so inferior to Google’s offering that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook himself directed users to maps applications or rivals, including Google and Nokia.
How bad are Apple maps compared to Google? Here is a short comparison.
Apple maps shows many places in the wrong place. Google maps is rarely wrong.
Google maps is more fully populated, while Apple’s maps sometimes looked like bombed out area, with missing houses businesses, and roads.
Apple’s maps do not have traffic data, Google does.
Both have turn by turn direction, but Google is more accurate.
Apple has flyover mode, but Google has streetview, and the latter is vastly more useful.
Google’s services are more fleshed out, with instructions on how to avoid toll taxes, and so on.
Tech website Gizmodo which did a side by side comparison of the two, had this to say:
“Google Maps app is faster at fetching locations, and has a more efficient UI design for calling upon directions. Apple’s turn-by-turn navigation system seems to kick into action quicker than Google’s static driving directions do.”
But as far as anything outside the US is concerned, Google wins hands down, Gizmodo points out that Apple maps won’t even recognize Heathrow airport, giving you a US location instead, and it does not know well known places, like the Spanish restaurant El Bulli, which is now permanently closed. Apple maps did not know that it existed, while Google Maps app gave the location along with a note saying that it is permanently closed.
The difference between the two, as Forbes writer Dave Einstein points out, is in big data. Google has tons and tons of data, which it has been collecting for years. Apple is just starting. As it gets more data, it will begin to fill up, but by then Google would have moved to a different level altogether. Clearly Apple has its task cut out.