Apple Maps are better, according to some, than Google Maps after some new improvements that make it simpler and more user-friendly. However, Google Maps also has its Waze which is gaining in popularity.
Google Maps have become an everyday staple for many. People use the app to get directions, to gauge how nice an area is, or just to see what their house looks like from a bird’s eye view. Google Maps was first made available in June 2005. Since then, it has added many map tools to its kit including the ever popular Google Street View and its newest addition Waze.
Apple first featured its Maps application for iOS (called iPhone OS back in the day) for its first-generation iPhone in June of 2007. Google Maps actually powered Apple’s mapping application until September 2012.
In June of 2012, Apple announced that it would no longer use Google Maps. Instead, Apple would use its own mapping system with data supplied from providers like TomTom and AutoNavi, a Chinese mapping company for the Chinese market. So began Apple’s competition with Google in the mapping arena.
In anticipation of Maps by Apple, much excitement centered around its new 3D or Flyover capability which was hailed as being much better than Google’s weak equivalent. By the end of September 2012, however, Apple was formally apologizing for the Maps app’s glaring errors.
Improper labeling was a widespread problem as even the Apple Store in Sydney was incorrectly mapped. When the Maps app put Mildura, Australia, 70 km from its actual spot, several motorists had to be rescued from the remote national park they ended up in. Other mistakes included classifying a city as a hospital, a nursery as an airport, and putting a gas station many miles away from its correct location.
Apple Maps secured a lofty spot in CNN’s top 10 tech ‘fails’ of 2012. Mocking Maps’ deficiencies, numerous funny memes were created like, “Columbus discovered America because he was looking for India on Apple Maps.”
Now, however, Apple appears to have gained the upper hand despite Google Maps enduring reign and acquisition of Waze. In September 2012, Google Maps for mobile on both Android and iOS were used by 81 million according to data released by ComScore. One year later, by September 2013, the number of Google Maps users has fallen to 58.7 million. Apparently, Apple Maps has accumulated 35 million users.
Of course, Apple Maps does silently coerce iPhone users to use it as it is the iOS default. For example, if you use Yelp, Apple Maps will open by default. If you really want to use Google Maps, then you will have to select, copy, and paste the address into Google Maps – all in addition to taking the extra step of opening Google Maps.
In addition, Apple Maps was much improved for iOS7. It not only is simpler and cleaner, but its screen automatically darkens at night for driving directions. Google Maps does not have this feature. Also, by default Apple Maps shows you arrival time while this is a few extra steps in Google Maps. Apple also claims that it it is continuously updating its mapping data which might result in better accuracy over time.
Despite Apple Maps’ superb numbers, the results of Google’s acquisition of Waze may have yet to be fully realized.
Google purchased Waze, an Israeli company in June of 2013. It uses social media and traffic management with the standard Google Maps to offer real-time reporting. Using current reports about accidents, stalled vehicles and traffic jams, it estimates your arrival time. It even gives information on gas prices and speed traps. According to Lisa Perlman, an ex-GPS user, Waze is the way to go.
“I really feel like I could never get lost as long as I’ve got this with me. It’s good for directionally-challenged people,” says Perlman. “I’m telling you, it gets me there every single time. I’ve never had a problem.”
While Apple Maps has its proponents and some good numbers earning it bragging rights over rival Google Maps, Google has a reputation of finding innovative “waze” of getting ahead.
By Fatema Biviji