Monday, November 11, 2013

Usage of Apple Maps and Google Maps

Charles Arthur (via Hacker News):

ComScore’s data suggests though that comparatively few iPhone owners actually take the trouble to use Google’s maps rather than Apple’s - in part because Apple’s maps are the default for any driving directions or map-related search on iOS 6 and above.

According to ComScore, in September 2012 - just ahead of the introduction of Apple Maps - there were a total of 81.1m users of Google Maps, out of a total of 103.6m iPhones and Android phones users.

But a year later, its smartphone data says that the total number of Google Maps users is much lower, at 43% of iPhone and Android users - or 58.7m, despite the user base growing to 136.7m.

As with Web browsers in the 90s, the default choice matters a lot. And, unlike with Microsoft and Internet Explorer, Apple doesn’t even let users change the default maps app (nor Web browser). There’s a sort of strategy tax at work here. Apple has decided that it’s more important to hurt Google than to help its own customers.

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I think it gives Apple more flexibility in a lot of ways. And as ads start popping up more on G Maps I'm glad for the difference. However it boggles the mind that Apple still hasn't incorporated changes to map data that I've been sending in over a year. There are major missing roads by my house *still*.

@Clark How does not allowing the default browser or maps to be changed give Apple flexibility?

The corrections I’ve submitted have not been incorporated, either. For example, this restaurant is still shown on the wrong side of Route 114 and also the wrong side of the intersection with Parkside Rd.

Small world; I ate at that restaurant a few months ago. Not a bad place.

For over 4 years both Apple and Google Maps located my own residence (in Illinois) a couple miles away. I had attempted to correct it via the Google map-editing interface and a Google representative responded, essentially, that the error was the result of buggy software rather than bad data, so they couldn't incorporate my changes in the usual way. Apple, of course, don't respond to map corrections. The problem was fixed earlier this year on both services; as I don't search for my own address all that often, I don't know which one was first.

In major cities I have noticed substantial improvements. Though even in New York, the 20-story building where my father lives, built about 5 years ago, fails to appear in Apple Maps, though its parking is indicated. The building is on a street corner; it has two addresses — a "vanity" address (which is nevertheless valid) and another, less exciting, address to which the USPS will canonicalize. Google Maps shows the building and understands both addresses, but the reverse geocoding for both Google and Apple Maps provide yet a third address, on a street that doesn't exist. (I think the street may have been here before the building was built).

I was just listening to Eddie Cue on The Talk Show talk about how many Maps corrections Apple has made based on user feedback. Unfortunately, it still has the wrong location for Peter Christian’s Tavern, even though I reported this bug back in 2013.

[…] On The Talk Show, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi discuss Apple TV, Apple software quality, iTunes, Apple Maps, and Radar. I found this frustrating because they kept talking about how, by their […]

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