At the recent WWDC, Apple announced an overhaul to their Maps product, including millions of miles of fresh data from their vehicle fleet, along with a new Street View-like feature called “Look Around”. Even though it’s exciting to see them invest in mapping, it seems like a bridge too far to ever catch the quality of Google Maps. Om Malik compares the relative positions between the two to that of Bing to Google in search. Apple is approaching Maps as an application first, when really maps are about data:
Why do I think Google Maps will continue to trump Apple despite the latter’s fancy new graphics and features? Because when it comes to maps, the key metrics are navigation, real-time redirection, and traffic information. Google’s Waze is a powerful weapon against all rivals. It has allowed Google to train its mapping algorithms to become highly effective and personal (not to mention how much intelligence that might have been shared with Waymo).
I would add point of interest data to this list as a key metric. That used to be purchased from commercial providers, scraped from the internet, and mapped manually, but now the fleet of vehicles (and Google’s users searching for places) provide a continuous stream of validation and updates to place data. With the combination of Google Maps, the Android OS, and soon a fleet of autonomous Waymo vehicles, it seems like Google will continue to be an unstoppable data juggernaut.