Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Google Maps’s Moat

Justin O’Beirne (via Paul Rosania, Hacker News, Reddit):

Similar to what we saw earlier this year at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, Apple’s parks are missing their green shapes. But perhaps the biggest difference is the building footprints: Google seems to have them all, while Apple doesn’t have any.


But what’s most interesting is how fast Google is making these buildings.

Just two years after it started adding them, Google already had the majority of buildings in the U.S. And now after five years, it has my rural hometown—an area it still hasn’t Street View’d (after 10+ years of Street View).


And this building-generation process seems automated to such a degree that buildings sometimes appear on Google’s map before roads do[…]


So Google seems to be creating [shared Areas of Interest] out of its building and place data. But what’s most interesting is that Google’s building and place data are themselves extracted from other Google Maps features.


The challenge for Apple is that AOIs aren’t collected—they’re created. And Apple appears to be missing the ingredients to create AOIs at the same quality, coverage, and scale as Google.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Interestingly, given the current coverage of the new Justin O’Beirne article, I got a marketing research email from Apple last night ("Tell us about your iPhone"). I thought maybe they were going to ask me why I'm still using an iPhone 5s, but when I went to do the survey, all it really wanted to do was ask me about Apple Maps—but none of these O’Beirne-sorts of issues, stuff much more basic, although not as basic in some cases as I would have liked.

I'm disappointed there were no real open-ends in the survey, because I would have liked to have given a lot more feedback (when I knew they were definitely listening) about things that mattered to me, rather than just checking boxes related to the things they were curious about. The only thing it really drilled down on was a selection of different routing options Apple must be considering. The other interesting thing was that the last demographic question asked me in which major metropolitan area I lived, with a selection of maybe 50 (I think all US; I didn't have to scan the list, just make a selection and then get to the bottom for the next button, so I didn't pay enough attention) choices.

[…] Some would argue that’s what happened with maps, where Google remains ahead, and may even be increasing its lead, but yet Apple Maps is improving in an absolute sense and many people use it […]

[…] Previously: Rebuilding Apple Maps Using Apple’s Own Data, Google Maps’s Moat. […]

Leave a Comment