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Apple and Google expand battle to mobile maps

Boyd 1974 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304543904577398502695522974.html

Nice front page article with this title in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Instead of providing screenshots or information about the new Apple maps app, it discussed the backstory. Here are some of the things that I found interesting:

  • • Apple has been working on a maps app for a number of years, but accelerated development when Android phones overtook the iPhone in market share.

    • Apple has quietly acquired at least three cutting edge map companies and melded their technologies with their own.

    • Last fall Apple took the first step towards a proprietary system by releasing their own geocoder, the software component that translates the iPhone's position into a point on the map. Prior to that, Apple was using the Google geocoder. Apple was unhappy with the Google geocoder because it could only be used when a Google map was displayed. The new Apple geocoder is part of the current iOS software and is available to third party app developers.

    • Ads associated with maps account for about 25% of mobile ad spending. Google maps are used by 90% of iPhone owners. With a proprietary Apple maps app, Google will lose some ad revenue and also a lose selling point for their ads.

    • The map issue is just one facet of a much larger "war" between Apple and Google over data, devices and services. One analyst called this "the historic battle of today".

    • Friction between the companies grew as Apple wanted to control the look of the maps and only use some of the features in "a la carte" fashion. Google initially withheld the street view feature available on Android. Apple also wanted Google turn by turn navigation but Google refused. Google wanted their logo to be more prominent and also wanted Apple to use their "latitude" social networking service but Apple refused.

    • In 2009 Steve Jobs decided Apple needed their own mapping technology and acquired Placebase. They then became Apple's new "geo team" with offices across the hall from Steve.

    • Apple wanted to buy AdMob in 2009 but Google beat them to it. Apple responded in 2010 by buying Quattro Wireless. In a staff meeting, Steve Jobs told employees the Google's behavior suggested that it's "don't be evil" motto was "bull".

    • In 2010 Apple bought Poly9, a company developing 3d maps similar to Google Earth. This raised alarms at Google, who then realized Apple was serious about their own mapping app.

    • The Apple Geo Team is shrouded in secrecy, not even discussing their projects with each other. They are rumored to be working on features that will "one up" Google's app. There are reports of one app that looks like an automotive GPS device.

    • Google employees are rumored to be very concerned about these developments because as many as half of the people who use Google Maps own Apple devices.

    • Apple may announce the new map application next week at the WWDC. Google has a news conference scheduled for today to unveil "the next dimension of Google Maps."

Comments

  • dhn 335 Points
    TomTom has basically acknowledged an app for Android phones will be out soon.
  • Boyd 1974 Points
    Google has a news conference scheduled for today to unveil "the next dimension of Google Maps."
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/never-ending-quest-for-perfect-map.html
    People have been asking for the ability to use our maps offline on their mobile phones. So today we’re announcing that offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps.
    Interesting example there. If you're in the subway you also won't have a GPS signal. Or have we gotten to the point where A-GPS can still locate you?
    Today, we’re taking another step forward with our Street View Trekker. You’ve seen our cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys—but wheels only get you so far. There’s a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot. Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we’ve already taken it out on the slopes.

    image
  • Seldom 0 Points
    Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we’ve already taken it out on the slopes.
    I saw some guys with this sort of equipment last September 24 on the North Kaibab trail (Grand Canyon Rim to Rim trail) near Ribbon Falls.
  • Tim 1479 Points
    If you're in the subway you also won't have a GPS signal. Or have we gotten to the point where A-GPS can still locate you?
    I think the idea there is more that you can pull up transit directions knowing where you got on and where you want to get off and it will provide the list of stops along the way, etc. For that you wouldn't need a GPS position.
  • patruns 10 Points
    I am looking forward to the off-line capability on my Android phone for when I travel out of the country. :)
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