Google Maps helps the user in many life situations and is available across platforms on all major systems – of course on the iPhone. For quite some time now, they have competed against their rival Apple Maps, which has made great progress in the past 12 months and is now also attacking one of the flagship disciplines of Google Maps – namely the Streetview shots. The competition between the two platforms is becoming increasingly rough, which ultimately can only serve quality.
There are many alternatives to Google Maps, both on the web and in the form of apps, but only very few can reach many users and stay in their respective niches, where they sometimes perform better than Google’s one-stop shop. The biggest competitor is likely to be OpenStreetMap, but only in the pure mapping and routing area and no underlying commercial interests. Apple looks a little different.
When Apple Maps started in 2012, it was one of the biggest laugh numbers ever. The quality did not leave much to be desired and was just bad – objectively speaking. Cities and streets were placed completely wrong, the route planning sent the user three times in a circle and the phone book or business directory of their search function could hardly deliver useful results. The app only started a few months after the death of quality fetishist Steve Jobs and so the reputation of the platform was once ruined.
Nevertheless, Apple Maps has been declared as standard and Google Maps has lost its place as a preloaded app on the iPhone, which of course has not stopped users from downloading Google’s version, and so, Google Maps was able to register 10 million downloads in the App Store in the first two days after Apple Maps was launched. Even today, many users are likely to download Google Maps as one of the first official acts after acquiring a new iPhone, even if that were no longer necessary.
Apple Maps has nothing to do with the 2012 Apple Maps in 2019, and in the last few years, except for the same name. The app has made a huge jump in quality and now attacks a new bastion of Google, which speaks as a strong argument for Google Maps.
Apple announced at the in-house developer conference (WWDC) earlier this week that Apple Maps is getting a Streetview feature very similar to Google Maps. The shots are not shopped, but are from Apple itself and were made in recent months with the typical vehicles and camera backpacks. Other companies such as Bing, Microsoft, or here are traveling with vehicles that are no longer special.
It is still unclear how strong Apple’s implementation of Streetview really will be. The amount will initially be much smaller than on Google Maps, but that was natural to assume. On the example videos, the navigation looks much smoother than in the Google version, so that the user can have the feeling of walking through the streets instead of just switching from one panorama image to the next. Whether that looks like this or just a fancy implementation for the promotional video remains to be seen.
Google Maps gets competition: Apple announces its own Streetview for Apple Maps
But Apple is not only expanding in terms of functionality but also takes on the quality of more and more. Though this is not about the hole from the past, now the group from Cupertino wants to outdo the next level of quality and the data of the competition, especially Google Maps. Already a good year ago, it was announced that Apple now wants to measure the earth itself and no longer wants to be dependent on the purchased data.
At the same time, however, new opportunities have been created with which to spread Apple Maps away from the iPhone and iPad: Only recently, a cooperation with DuckDuckGo was announced, making the cards the standard in the search engine. Last year, the Web version of Apple Maps was expanded to allow maps to be embedded on external websites.
The big question now is why Apple runs this huge and costly effort to push their platform. As you know, Apple is not a big data collector (at least that’s how you put it yourself) and could be satisfied with the map apps in the App Store, especially Google Maps. It is unlikely that Apple Maps will ever become a profitable business because it would have to build an ad network or the like for monetization.
Does Apple see the mapping as the basic function of a smartphone and therefore does not want to be dependent on the competition? And if so, would not Apple then build its own search engine, a video platform, and a social network? Because all these are also basic functions that users probably spend more time with. The former motivation to displace Google as much as possible from the iPhone has long been refuted because even CEO Tim Cook had to explain last year, why Google is the default search engine on the iPhone ($$$).
In terms of quality, this new competition can only be good.