I'd take Nokia's Here anytime instead of Google Maps (offline maps alone are worth it). Also, I honestly don't understand a logic behind crediting something as complex to a single person ("a hero") -- "S. Jobs created iPhone", "M. Mayer created Google Maps" etc., there were whole teams of smart people working on these projects, I'm sure they would have been fine with any other reasonable leader and enough resources. The key point of technological success is the right time and place, so Google Maps were successful mostly because there was a huge need for them during smartphone and cheap cellular data surge, M. Mayer just happened to be a leader then and did her job (just as probably hundreds of engineers and lower ranking managers).
EDIT: Seems like my knowledge on Google Maps is a bit dated as I stated Here's offline map capabilities as an advantage. Still, the point stands and I still use Here as my go-to maps.
I think that might actually be part of the issue. Here is much better in Europe, Google and friends have always been better in US.
The main barrier is getting contributors to add data to OSM. Some cities like Boston / Somerville seem to have hired office staff to improve OSM, as I see a lot of edits from usernames relating to the city in those areas. Another barrier is that the GIS system can be hard to work with, a lot of the programs being expensive and comercial. I managed to compile QGIS from the AUR but got confused by the thousands of coordinate systems and the exporting process, so my hometown will have to go without subdivision labels until someone more experienced can add them.
I'm really hoping that more people can make maps apps using OSM data, since OSM is often up to date enough for my needs in the areas I am in, but the best app I've seen so far (Maps.me) has a kinda old interface as well as map rendering that feels too cluttered to me compared to google maps (details shown at various zoom levels).
They expired after 30 days (not 30 days of being offline, just 30 days from when you downloaded the map). If you had internet when they expired, the map would refresh and you'd be good for another 30 days. If the 30th day happened to be the first day of your trip, you were SOL until you found wifi.
Some of the other annoyances have been fixed (initially they only supported navigating to addresses, not business names). Some of them haven't (still no walking directions). But if I can't count on the maps to actually be there when I need them, nothing else matters.
Of course there were smart people working on it. But someone has to have long term and execution vision to make these happen
Today it's obvious that was the path, at the time, not so much
The last time I tried/was allowed to save Google Maps offline (it's not available in all regions) you could not navigate or search for POIs while offline.
Here allows both navigation and POI search using an offline map. This is incredibly useful if you are in a country without service or where roaming data is very expensive.
Must be only in certain regions. I went on a road trip in Western Europe this summer and the offline maps did not contain POIs an offline Navigation was not possible.
Actually, Navigation itself was impossible as the app crashed every minute on my Android 7 phone.
Meanwhile HERE Maps worked just fine offline and didn't crash my phone.
Last year I was travelling in Japan and Google Maps refused to let me download the maps to use offline. I installed OSM and downloaded the maps and it worked perfectly again. I was very surprised at the quality of OSM in Japan, it was fantastic! Even showing walking paths through temples.
To be fair, HERE Maps only supports offline navigation for driving, biking, and walking. You cannot get public transportation navigation in offline mode.
Also HERE Maps driving navigation includes speed limits and a speeding warning based on GPS measured speed. Very useful for when there are speed cameras installed (as is the case in most of Europe). I have never seen Google Maps Navigation showing the current road's speed limit.
Nobody else's business data is even close. Like not even 15% close.
HERE was sold by Nokia in 2015
You could give millions or billions to TomTom, which is what Apple has been doing, or you could pour the same amounts into creating your own datasets, allowing you to do a lot more than navigation, i.e. anything.
For maps, they are rumored to have cars driving around to collect data, but they clearly aren’t there yet, and even if they are investing heavily, may never catch up with Google.
Prime video is their main competitor. It’s like UPS renting its trucks from
instead, they've spent all their energies since on amassing the most lucrative content they can. this is why they started making their own original series and why disney has (implicitly) made the argument that they should be allowed to buy fox.
same as in the UPS & fedex example. the trucks are not core to the business. efficient logistics is.
Don't they still do?
it seems like ages ago that anyone has mentioned getting a netflix dvd in the mail.
They have a gentleman's agreement with Amazon–like Apple does with Samsung. It's mutually beneficial for both parties so there's no point antagonizing each other.
On the other hand, Netflix's partnerships with movie studios is very one-sided one for them - there is no substitute for a blockbuster movie, so movie studios have a lot of leverage when talking to Netflix. Generally speaking, in this kind of relationship, the content providers will raise their prices to squeeze all profit out of the transaction with the customer. See also the difficulty with music streaming - the record industry has done the exact same thing already, the video industry is only a few years behind. Netflix saw the writing on the wall quite some time ago.
If AWS kicked them off tomorrow, that would definitely be disruptive, but the chances of that happening are almost nil as Amazon would lose significant revenue, goodwill, and almost certainly face a lawsuit and maybe even an anti-trust investigation.
What you say already happens for MVNOs and it works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operato...
They don't really exist to show more ads, and they're becoming a larger part of their profit every year.
What about their open source stuff? Kubernetes, Go etc?
I'll readily admit that advertising is still their primary source of revenue, but painting Google as a purely advertising company is getting less accurate every year
Websites that show ads, of course!
It is rumored that TomTom and Apple have a data deal. Apple gets maps from TomTom (for free, or a strongly reduced price), TomTom gets Apple maps user location data which they use for their traffic service.
How the deal works exactly isn't known (financial details are not public). But it's quite clear Apple doesn't pay a lot to make use of or improve TomTom maps.
Not the best example. McDonalds is so much more than food:
Absolutely not true. I don't use Google Maps in Czech Republic at all as there is a solid local map provider - (they offer whole world through OSM, so I use that on phone as well, but it's not that great). They lost some edge with Google going full-textured 3D few years back (actually the Czech map had it sooner, just not as useful). But other than that much cleaner rendering, equally good aerial or street view, better routing, POIs, richer layers ...
(edit: and two huge UX advantages over GM: no stupid random rotation - North is UP, and a very quick and precise zoom by holding control)
Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar stories in other countries.
2. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.seznam.mapy or recently released as https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.seznam.wind... (haven't tried it)
I don't expect Google to pull its map app from iOS because it is a very valuable demographic to collect data from and target. Also, Apple already has a large hole on its balance sheet trying to catch up to Google in mapping. It started around the time they very publicly fired Forstall for the whole iOS 6 maps fiasco.
It used to be very good with the previous user interface. Now I use my national map provider (when I do not need Streetview) or Openstreetmap (when I do not need aerial pictures or Streetview).
And for routing, I may use some cycling map, or Google maps when I hope I won't have to move any point (starting and ending point specified by address, and no change of route).
Google Maps was more ready than anyone else to ride the smartphone explosion. I guess they will also be more ready than everyone to cash on self-driving cars, Advanced AI, VR, and maybe youth-enhancing drugs too.
Hmmm, wasn't this Microsoft's business strategy too, until the regulators got involved?
"Regulators" only got involved with browsers, once. You can't use that as an excuse for all the subsequent blunders by MS management. Their big tech bet was tablets and PDAs and they still got pipped by Apple and Google, without any involvement by lawyers.
In what way? Google didn't invent search, mail, banner ads... nor maps.
Google Mail was leaps and bounds better than anything in the webmail space at the time (more space, better spam filter, better UI, imap support...).
The pagerank intuition (and the technical way of achieving it, with clusters of cheap PCs) was original in search at the time, which is how they built their lead.
Ads they mostly got from the Doubleclick acquisition, but the intuition of serving more palatable text ads on a mass scale was original.
Android they acquired, but the intuition of keeping it opensource was original in embedded systems at the time.
Whereas MS Office was just another office suite. Xbox was just another console. Windows CE was a hacked-down Windows that struggled vs real mobile systems. .Net was a Java clone. Bing was a Google clone. IIS was a clone of existing webapp servers, with the only advantage being that it came preinstalled. SQLServer they acquired and made it slightly easier to use than competitors. After Windows, IE was probably the only major project where they innovated substantially, and they let it die.
The XBox's innovation (according to developers) was in making game development easier (DirectX) - heck, it was called DirectX Box originally!.
.Net started as a Java clone, but outpaced it significantly (LINQ, Lambdas, Generics, extensions, anonymous types) mostly thanks to Anders Hejlsberg.
I agree they had their share of high-profile failures, Windows CE and all of Microsoft's mobile forays failed, the current Windows Mobile was starting to get good but they had to kill it.
Excel was better than anything that came before and was a category-killer, so not "just another office suite" (although they did use their monopoly to force it).
They did have some wins (Azure) and they still have their cash cows to fall on.
This kind of anticompetitive behaviour would be news. A big bank account all by itself is not.
When searching for places in European cities large and small, Google is missing a ton of information and much of what it has is wrong. Opening times, for instance, or which thing is a bar or a restaurant or a bakery or a shop.
And we found the main party bar in three different (smallish) cities, totally unknown to Google. Thank God we're still social enough to ask the locals. :-)
My sense is that the map data that can be acquired programmatically is very good on Google, and anything requiring human input or verification is relatively weak, especially outside the USA.
This is presumably a big opportunity, long-term, since it's getting easier to have robots acquire data but anything high-touch seems uninteresting to AlphaGoo.
Their Local Guides program in Maps is clearly a direct reaction to this, they even explicitly ask you to sign up with a message saying "we need help from a human". Once you're signed up you'll occasionally be asked a series of yes or no style questions about places you've visited, ranging from "Does this place have disabled access" to "Would you consider this a classy place". They also encourage you to do things like adding the opening hours of places they don't know about, or confirming that places are still in business.
I think you've described Google as a whole with this one sentence. YouTube content classification. Web site content identification. Account abuse. Their porn filters. There are as many examples as there are Google data products.
Really have to chime in here to echo other comments - this statement is astounding. Given the resources that have been available to them, and the time they've spent on developing their platform and data, it's amazing how bad Google maps is compared to everything else.
Google Street View has unparalleled photographic data, and their very cool 3d extrusion of satellite data are nice features that still give them a competitive edge, but otherwise, on a purely cartographic level, Google Maps is really bad. Aside from Nokia and Apple, OSM's data through well-made interfaces by Maps.ME, Mapbox, Mapzen, etc. (intermediates necessitated by OSM's lack of financial resources for maintaining hosted tileservers) are all far better than Google's.
Nobody else has the amount of data Google has, that could, with good design, potentially contribute to a good mapping experience.
Even so, to go through the things you list (ignoring Street View and satellite which I already mentioned above):
- Nokia maps has much better business listings, up to date opening hours and reviews than Google
- Maps.ME has far superior walking directions - their pathfinding algorithms can be a bit iffy, but OSM data has, in my experience, far better pedestrian- and walker-oriented trail data than Google. Particularly in remote areas, on mountains, etc. If by "terrain view", you mean the 3d visualisation, then Google's is quite pretty, but not as useful as more accurate and complete trails with graphed route altitudes.
- I'm not in the US, so Google's public transit data is likely better there, but here in Ireland it really isn't. This despite the fact all of our public transit services provide open real-time APIs. I'm not aware of any mapping service here that gets public transport integrate right, but OSM at least has better stop data than Google, which can be fed to RTPI APIs. Google's EU headquarters is here, which includes their Google Maps team...
- I find OSM coverage in is higher quality than Google in more than "dozens of countries".
I'm aware that all of the above is anecdotal, and much of it being from a non-US perspective, I guess some of this could just be an overly strong focus on the US on Google's part.
However, most of my issues with their Maps service is down to UX, performance (their web-based maps are particularly awful here), accessibility, and general consistency (e.g. their Android Street View app is really limiting and doesn't seem to integrate with anything else - the switching between it and the Android Maps app is unintuitive and generally makes very little sense in terms of actual use-cases). So I think this is somewhat independent of geographic focus.
OpenStreetMap wins on street numbers and other, because they're maintained by the municipal government.
If you want a real map, then Bing is the best solution in the UK because they partnered with the Ordnance Survey. OS maps are the civilian gold standard.
Have a look at https://binged.it/2BFM0UA
And compare to the OS 1:25k example image: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/pro...
"The maps are completely separated.
Waze and Google do share traffic info and reports.
Waze uses Google maps database for search (besides our own db ofcourse).
Sometimes Google maps data is imported into Waze. Streets, streetnames, parking lots.."
I am basically counting down the days until Google is the recipient of a major FTC enforcement action. It's going to happen in the next decade, and it will make Microsoft look like peanuts.
I grew annoyed at Google maps. It didn't show street names and numbers, and overall little detail, meaning that even if I (with GPS) easily found my location, it was hard to orient myself, and discover things around me. Things like "I know ABC is close to XYZ, I just need to find it by looking around XYZ" is really hard.
edit: and by small, I mean small. Nothing like the TFA, but grounded in a Swedish suburb (50k inhabitants), which is more meaningful to me. Also, I didn't have an apple-device at the time so no Apple maps included.
Sorry but that's almost comically out-of-touch with today's reality. If you've been paying any attention you know exactly what Google takes from its users in return for this "social charity".
Honestly, even calling it a "social charity" is kind of offensive to actual social charities. They're not giving away this data, or opening it up, it's entirely Google's property and they're actively putting up multiple barriers to discourage people from using the service without giving up their privacy, location data and everything.
Imagine a corporation using a "social charity" as a lure like that.
If that's a "social charity" then so is Facebook's thing with the "free internet" in India.
For street data and navigation. Apple Maps in Australia is pretty much the same as Google Maps, so I mainly just use Apple Maps because I can command it via Siri while driving.
Google Maps has better search though if you don’t know the address, and the building outlines and street view are nice.
However, Google has comprehensive streetview and more up-to-date aerial photography.
However, Bing and Apple maps get the correct location and have the right visualizations for the same area.
I wouldn't be so dramatic. My roommate uses mostly Google products but she gets by with apple maps because her car only speaks that over Bluetooth. It's not the worst experience in the world.
Besides, I don't see any reason why Google can't add OpenStreetMap as an additional data source in some or all areas (right in the spirit of the article). It will be interesting to see how the usage and development of OSM changes if that really happens.
The OSM licence requires that if you merge another database with it, you need to release the other database under the same licence as OSM.
I can't see Google doing that.
There is so much more information at a glance on OSM, whereas for Google you have to go to the highest zoom level to see all POIs. Smaller, local shops are often hidden by large chain brands that Google deems more important, and they don't show up until the shop's building almost covers your whole screen. Rather than showing the icon without a name, so you know what's there just not which specific brand, it just shows you nothing.
As for search... yeah that company owns search. I'm not surprised they excel at that one :)
Close, but imho is has more to do with liability, a fear common at all american companies. Car drivers are licensed. They can be expected to obey traffic laws. So when google sends them down the wrong way on a one-way road, nobody blames google. They blame the adult who listened to their phone rather than the signs. But bicyclists are not licensed. If google says that a road is open to cyclists when it isn't, and something bad happens, few will blame the 12yo unlicensed cyclist just following their phone's directions. This is why google, imho, seems to be limiting bicycle routes to those areas with the most clearly defined paths, preferably separate from roads.
And the one-way thing for bike routes is likely based on the widespread understanding that bicycles on roads must obey all the rules that cars do. Going the wrong way on a one-way road is illegal in many areas no matter what vehicle you use. This may never be enforced, but google's legal team probably isn't willing to depart from the letter of the law.
It also presents an alternate route, but the traffic environment here isn't such that the route under the viaduct makes any sense.
(this is in small town usa)
It routes me onto a dangerous arterial road rather than the pleasant multiuse park path that is directly adjacent to the arterial road (and which is my normal cycling route). The Google Maps recommendation here is quite bad and possibly dangerous. The alternate route goes on another heavily-trafficked road rather than the quiet surburban street a block away that is a designated cycle route marked with bicycle signs and sharrows (which was my previous cycling route).
There are many examples of one-way roads with two-way bike lanes, ie San Francisco:
Or that cycling doesn't offer referrals…
Well of course we were explicitly not talking about the other closed, US corporate-owned map datasets, but the open one.
Who cares if they have options for cycling or not.
But thanks for bringing the topic back to Apple, mr "iNerdier".
While Apple is still playing catch-up, it appears to me that cycling, and all other features mentioned in the article, are exceptionally ameliorable to machine learning, and its advances over the last few years.
Apple being the only other company in the world with access to the wealth of position data on users' phones, and the financial muscle to purchase any satellite images they want to get their hands on, shouldn't have too much of a difficulty of replicating these.
I seem to remember discovering Google's bike directions, including the height profiles, a few months later and being slightly miffed that it wasn't available for my trip.
WAG: is Google preparing to be Amazon's drones mapping service that thy care so munch to even know each and every building/caravan is?
Now that there’s some money floating around again for a couple years, mew bridges and joins and larger road works look more common everywhere.
From here it looks like that google mapping quality is more or less the same, but the rate of change of the urban landscape increased leaving a larger gap between actual and mapped.
(That is for maps alone, street view is extremely outdated across all Italy)
If this were a feature for something like drone landing, it wouldn't show up in the public rendering of maps. Google has boatloads of mapping information they don't show, such as travel times, detailed scenic values, allowed turns etc. And building shapes alone are both too little for landing a drone (it doesn't show detailed vegetation or power lines), as well as too much (you only need flat/not flat to land, not the detailed roof shape of different sections of a building).
Insider perspective: I don't know why building shapes were added specifically, but you can honestly get away with basically justifying a project at Google with "because it would be cool".
There's a lot of reasons you can get away with it: Google has lots of internal tools and resources and data which makes it easy to do cool things, Google is pretty well off and can afford to not be particularly "lean", and Management can justify cool things because cool things are like basic science (as the article points out) and lets you build more cool things and because users like cool things ("magic moments").
So it's very possible that the reason building shapes were added were because someone realized it wouldn't take that much work to do using Google's existing data, machine learning & computer vision research, and computational infrastructure and thought it would be cool, they convinced someone in middle-management it would be cool and a half dozen people worked on it for a year or two.
[It could have also been a calculated, top-down decision and required hundreds of people working for a decade with laser focus; that happens too sometimes, I don't actually know.]
To find a one-way street that applies to cyclists would be an exception.
It's actually super annoying, and I don't think I've seen a road done like this in last 2-3 years.
Edit: but yeah, that is _slightly different_.
It's probably caused by some third party app or rarely-tested phone model. They take in app feedback into account when deciding what to work on next.
In France, it is legal:
* in all "30 km/h zones" (which are a bit different from a single street with a 30 km/h limit), unless specifically disallowed in a specific street;
* in all "'meeting' zones" (where the speed limit is 20 km/h and pedestrians have special rights);
* and of course anywhere where it is specifically allowed.
And it doesn't have any buildings at all in my friends' neighbourhood, because it was fields when their aerial images were taken under construction when their StreetView cars passed through 4 or so years ago. OpenStreetMap has accurate buildings. Apple Maps doesn't, but you've got a complete street layout and can overlay its more recent aerial imagery to see the buildings. Google Maps has no buildings, no aerial imagery from the last seven or more years, gets the street layout wrong and mislabels some of the few streets it actually shows. It's fun taking a 3D drive through the first roads when they were still lined by bare earth and areas about to start construction, but I got lost using their map...
Any mapping service's "moat" depends more on whether it's remotely adequate for the areas an individual cares most about than its ability to superbly render famous features of priority US cities.
 free to set up a rendering database that is
but yeah, google approves them occasionally as well
I had the fun experience last week to discover that this was one of the cities in north Texas.
The "Boy's Bathroom Tascosa Drive In" Residents are hopefully not going to look at my app any time soon. I am now a bit concerned about the quality in the states as a whole.
Of course as a practical matter the block only applies to an account rather a person, but it makes the point to the person that the vandalism isn't welcome.
I mostly mean to expand on how OSM deals with such things, not to argue whether or not that makes it suitable for your purposes.
You don't even know if towns will be on the map with Google, but with OSM, there's always at least something.
Last year, when SVP of Engineering at Google left for Uber, I suggested here on HN that Uber getting into mapping (for exactly the reasons in the article) with OSM would be mutually beneficial (in the same way as outlined in another comment from today). It didn't get a warm response. (IIRC, at first it was even downvoted into the gray.)
Back in the 80ies when we started working on these kind of mapping techniques Microsoft was the first to work on it (i.e. buy those companies, partner with institutes), and was the first to get the local government contracts for the flyover photos.
Google had only access to the US satellite data, with a much lower resolution, Microsoft had access to the yearly 2D government overflights and even to the local stereo camera 3d images. 4x a year on 1000m. Very good data.
Paired with streetview-like cars photographing the facades this was the future. Google didn't invent this, Microsoft partners (also working for NASA) did this.
Some cities still only work together with Microsoft, they do have long contracts. So streetview is not public, 3d images are government only and 2d maps are behind.
OpenStreetMaps solved this problem with crowdsourcing. More accurate, but not scalable.
Google solved it technically, Microsoft politically.
When I worked in city planning, I used to write such a 3d image software, which detects roofs, trees, cars, streets, and build an automatic 3d model out of it.
These models were used to detect illegal buildings or enhancements, which brings in more taxes. They had no interest in making these maps public, only for certain architectural or city-planning contests.
One thing that I am wondering is: as much reluctant as I am in using Google services, I must admit that Google Map is unbeaten -- in my own experience -- in finding the quickest route in traffic. Is there any alternative service for this purpose?
In the general sense, Wave greatly prefers higher average travel speeds over distance to the point of being comical. Going between my two most frequent destinations can be 34 miles on a bunch of super highways or 21 miles of surface street with a long stretch state highway that is mostly posted 55mph. The calculated ETAs are usually within 3 minutes of each other but Waze almost always wants me to travel the longer distance -- burning a bunch more gas and making the drive more stressful.
Then there's all the screwy stuff it does with side streets. Having to enter busy arterial roads from uncontrolled intersections is probably not saving me time and is certainly not making my travels safer or less stressful. Especially when it wants me to turn left.
Waze is a nice substitute for shuffling my Valentine One between vehicles.
Compare this section of a Dutch city:
Apple: (I guess Apple maps can't be linked to on the web?)
It also helps a lot if your government can be persuaded to open up their geographical data. All the building outlines are right there on the map in the Netherlands, up to date to within weeks, because the Dutch OpenStreetMap volunteers work with government data that is permissively licensed and cleared for use with OpenStreetMap. In fact, mistakes in that data set are also picked up by the local OpenStreetMap mappers, and reported back to the government cadastral map. Everyone benefits.
Trying to open that link on macOS from either Firefox or Safari shows a modal asking if I want to open it with the Maps app. I'm not sure what happens on iOS, but I'd expect something similar.
IMO, the lack of web client for Apple Maps makes it the worst of the bunch. Vendor lock-in is a tragedy.
I've been trying to use OSM more over the last few months, but it's hard to compete with Google on their home turf. Although OSM started to become more appealing as Google began requiring you to enable all sorts of data tracking for many or its features to work. If you disable location tracking you run into all sorts of bugs.
Yeah, on any other OS your  just redirects to Google Maps:
And even where the actual map data is superior, the "we know better what you want than yourself" approach to UI is infuriating: Hiding of map detail/information based on zoom level is LCD design - you have to zoom in ridiculously close to get most of the info you want, and even then you usually can't be sure that the POIs shown are complete.
And don't get me started on "Oooh, you cleared this text field? Lets zoom/move around like crazy!1"
But OSM has some advantages over the others. You can do Simple Indoor Tagging of your building, say for accessibility reasons, and you can even modify it later.
I really hope that one day OSM will be able to better compete with Google maps. I feel like there is a serious lack of OSM mobile apps. The only one I know of (that is acceptable) is Maps.me, but I find it too cluttered compared to Google maps.
Street View is so amazing, it's a huge game-changer from Google.
They seem to be starting back.
B) Just plain Vandalism
This come from an admittedly from the PoV of not using a smartphone with google service, so it's either fully offline maps or online vector maps in the open source, well supported OsmAnd app or using the sluggish google maps website. Also I'm in Germany which has by far the best OSM map quality I have seen so far. And I almost exclusively cycle everywhere and every time I tried using google maps It sent me through some 2km cobblestone road 5 min after starting.
But I still find the Mapnik default rendering style very pleasant to look at.
As an additional benefit I can just fix OSM error on the fly, on my Phone, whether I'm online or offline and queue the update for later. There is really no competition here...
Edit: I forgot one of my main criticism of google maps. I mainly stopped using it in the webbrowser because it was getting sooooo slow. openstreetmap.org loads almost instantly.
The second thing was that Google owns all of their data. When I was there Maps was pretty new, Google was digesting the acquisition of the Keyhole folks (who became Google Earth) and was complaining bitterly about how restrictive the usage rights were for the map data from a major mapping company. They kicked off a program to become independent of third parties for map data and to have the most accurate data in the world.
And if you turn the problem into an algorithm that can be parceled up between machines, you have way more of that than people. It's the one thing that the previous generation of computer companies didn't get, when computers are cheap having 50,000 of them isn't all that much different than having 5,000 especially if you can code up ways for them to route around damage. I think Maps is a good indication of what you can do when you think like that.
And some open source data initiatives. Open Street Map, for all it's glory, is surprisingly anti-automation. There's a lot of stuff that could probably be done with programs that they refuse because it's too hard to peer review the massive resulting changesets. Which is unfortunate, because there's a huge potential for processing images from places like Planet to provide new data and annotations that we'll just straight up miss out on.
We can get some satellite imagery for free from weather satellites, but it's nowhere near the resolution needed for street maps.
I could easily see Google making turn by turn or map detail a "small" $4.99/month service rather than having it be free.
It's wonderfully written too, easy to follow through his logic without having to re-read sections.
??? He writes a lot of this article like he's trying to guess from press and outside observation what Apple is doing / planning. If he was JUST working there, wouldn't he know all this? Should his 'outside observations' be considered to be him fitting outside information to what he already knows?
We might disagree on some points but his work is truly amazing and always interesting.
I agree with you over his previous blog and about his position at Apple Maps, great to see him doing what he does best.
As a side note this gives me great confidence that Waymo will come out of the self driving car race in pole position.
Each time justin writes a blog post, I feel like a cartographer for a couple of minutes.
I love the attention he puts to the evolution of mapping services.
The only better thing would be the same blog as a post mortem from Google where they discuss the reasoning, design and tech behind these changes.
Not to sound like a jerk, but I would be shocked if there were anyone working on this that was not pursuing things in this way. It just seems kind of obvious that you can't have some big hunk of metal rolling around, following some abstracted track from a map, without "looking" where it is going.
Then think of what percentage of the time they're right.
But hey, that's not a realistic danger in the city, right? Well, look up the sinkhole named "Steve" that opened up in the middle of an Oakland, CA freeway.
Then there's Highway 1, which is known for landslides. Not to mention that little incident with the Bay Bridge back in '89...
Another interesting thing to consider, should there be widespread use of autonomous vehicles is the absolutely massive deployment of digital sensors that would entail, and who would use this data and to what ends? It would basically be realtime Streetview.
As a hypothetical, what if autonomous driving is seen to depend on what many would see as invasive data collection and monitoring? Should it be permitted? That's a hypothetical, but I don't think there's an obvious answer to the question as posed.
I don't think that we'll ever justify that massive loss of privacy is more important than massive loss of life and health; especially if the bad consequences of loss of privacy is generally hypothetical and in the future; and the bad consequences of traffic accidents are obvious and immediate.
Does it get sent back to the mothership? How is it processed? Is it discarded? Who has access?
When data is the new oil, these questions answer themselves if there is not legislation to prevent it.
Such data would be hugely attractive for commercial interests.
Hedge-funds and the like, use aerial imagery to get data like the amount of cars in parking lots at shopping areas.
With a fleet of cars with 360 degree cameras driving around, not only could the number of people on the sidewalks be counted, but it would be technically possible to identify most of them.
Google Maps estimates are wildly off when parts of the drive are along unpaved roads in Australia. It assumes a ludicrously low speed of 30-40 km/h for such roads, when most cars are able to go 80+ km/h, depending on the road. I've beaten Google arrival estimates by more than 2 hours on some drives.
When planning drives involving unpaved sections, we usually ask Google for the estimates for the paved sections (which are generally accurate), then estimate the unpaved sections based on the distance and a guess at a reasonable speed for the road.
I've also noticed that Google is much better at estimating speeds along unpaved roads that have mobile signal coverage. It seems like it uses user-generated driving data for them to some extent, but not at all for the ones without coverage. This leads me to think that they accept real-time user data, but will not "queue" the gathered data on the app for uploading later, when mobile signal is available.
This seems like a strange decision, given that unpaved roads and lack of mobile coverage correlate by nature. I suppose it's probably a security-minded decision, to prevent malicious agents from easily uploading bad data. Or maybe a quirk of the way Waze data plays into this.
I usually manage to knock a 4.5 hour drive down to 4 hours or less.
Some areas allow lane splitting, others don't. Some riders are on tourers that can't hop through traffic but can maintain highway speeds comfortably, others ride single-cylinder dual sport bikes that can't maintain 60 without taking a physical toll on the rider. And every rider has a slightly different risk tolerance, which translates to different behavior in traffic. I personally don't mind lane splitting between two semi trucks cruising abreast at highway speed, but I get anxious squeezing through cramped city traffic. And I slow down considerably anywhere a SMIDSY might happen, even if I have the right of way.
Also, it may be difficult for Google to identify who is riding a motorcycle from location data alone, which is what they would use to generate the motorcycle estimations. Not sure how they would do it...maybe using accelerometer/gyro data to identify inward leans during turns? The assumption being that cars will lean outwards, while bikes will lean inwards.