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If I Were Google, I Wouldn’t Release A Native iOS 6 Maps App For Six Months (techcrunch.com)
61 points by ryandvm 1912 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 105 comments

Just throw an old 3GS or 4 in your pocket and use Google Maps by creating a private WiFi hot-spot with your iPhone 5.

Wait a minute. The iPhone 5 doesn't do that. Hey, but it's longer, thinner and faster. What else do you want?

It almost reminds me of Microsoft Word. Once MS Word got to the point where it did pretty much everything the majority of users wanted it to do there really was not reason to upgrade. As my own example, the only reason I upgraded some of our systems to Office 2007 was because we needed 64 bit systems for Finite Element Analysis and Office 2003 wouldn't go there.

I know that they'll sell a lot of iPhone 5's, but I really think that they are starting to loose the magic. I, for one, don't really care about thinner or lighter beyond the 4S. A little larger, maybe, but there are so many things that the next generation iPhones could or should be doing that I can't imagine why Apple would pull resources into trying to out-map Google.

3D fly-over map views? Really? How much money did they waste on that crap?

It's almost like Siri. It's a big smelly, smoldering pile of crap. I don't know of anyone that actually uses it. And it sure as hell doesn't work one bit like the TV ads. What a waste.

Yet another rant about how "Apple is loosing it". Very tiring. I can't wait until people stop complaining and start being constructive again. I miss that here.

Yes the maps blow. So let's talk about maps, not the entire complete product which you seem to loth. No offense by this, just would like to move past venting for the sake of venting.

Users are human and such generalization is what we "lusers" slip into when we're so radically disturbed by something.

The post is a rant alright, but I'm pissed just the same that Apple's maps doesn't recognize "The Music Academy" in Chennai. It knows my local street, shows a hospital nearby on the map (with correct name) and yet when I put in the name of the hospital in the box to find directions, it can't find the location! The search results are total crap and unaware of the location from which I'm searching (though I've already told it that [edit: I'm in India and it gives autocompletion results to destinations in Austria ... by walk!).

I could go on .. but then again, this will be a rant as well. Here is a "constructive" comment to Apple - put in a new maps app and refine it over time alright, but let us keep the Google maps app alongside. Is that too much to ask?

put in a new maps app and refine it over time alright, but let us keep the Google maps app alongside. Is that too much to ask?

If Google had a maps app, it wouldn't be too much to ask. Google doesn't have a maps app; iOS has a maps app, which was powered by Google up until iOS 6. If/when Google creates a maps app, I'm willing to bet Apple will approve it for the App Store, just as they've approved Chrome and Gmail.

Apple's contract to use Google as the back-end data source for iOS's Maps app expired and, for all we know, Google refused to renegotiate another contract. I doubt that's the case, but anyone asserting anything either way is simply speculating unless they're sourcing from someone at Apple or Google.

whatever .. I reserve my right as a user (who's paid for the device) to have expectations of functionality - the business side of things be damned.

For now, I've done an "add to home screen" of the google maps mobile device page. Works much better for me than the native maps.

I never said you should limit your expectations. I was simply laying out facts. You can like them or hate them, that's entirely up to you; I personally don't care either way.

I'm glad you've found a more usable replacement for iOS 6's Maps.

I'd like to record here that today both "The Music Academy" as well as the hospital I searched for are locatable on iOS6 Maps!!

This makes me wonder what Tim Cook meant when he wrote "The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get..". Is it a side effect of some kind of caching or learning we're seeing here? The info is certainly there, but it seems like it is the text->geo mapping that turns up "no results" more often than I can tolerate.

Are you kidding? I use Siri every single solitary day. I use it to create reminders, I use it to dictate text messages, I use it to schedule appointments and find a local sandwich shop that delivers. Siri was one thing from iOS5 that actually met and exceeded the hype.

From what I've seen tonight with iOS6, Siri got extended to deal with movie showings (another thing I frequently do with Flixter) and the latency seems a bit reduced.

Well, that's certainly not my experience. Every time I've tried to use it the experience is far less than ideal. My wife gave up way before me. And most of my friends with iPhones share my experience. Just to address the question before it surfaces, no, I/we don't have any weird accents.

Oh, yeah, the other issue: Try using Siri when your kids are around. Right.

You are asking Siri to work when there are kids around (e.g. other people are speaking)??? Well, no wonder, it doesn't work for you.

I run a couple of times a week and even then it works very nicely (e.g. a lot of ambient noise). I also have an accent, thought not a horrible one. My kids (who have a native US accent) also use it with no issues.

Before you give up on Siri, I recommend the following. Bring up the Siri prompt, and there will be an info icon on the right. Tap it and see what it's good at and how to get the best of it. Once you've gone through this 5 minute exercise, I believe, your experience will be much improved.

Another pro tip, is that pronouncing punctuation greatly improves recognition and context. In other words, if there is a comma in your sentence, actually say "comma".

No, no, no. I didn't say that ALWAYS try to use it around my kids. Please. I am not that much of an idiot. I was merely pointing out that sometimes having kids around makes it even more frustrating.

I've tried using it in different environments. In nearly all cases it seems that it is easier to Google it (if I am looking for something) or fire-up the app in question (say, Calendar).

Certainly, if I am sitting in front of my computer there's no reason to use Siri (for searching) as both Siri and the iPhone can't compete with Google on a nice big 24 inch screen.

Siri would make sense to use while driving. Here the option t bring the phone to your face (as in making a call) isn't available because --at least in California-- you'll get a nice fat ticket for using your phone while driving. So, it has to work in speakerphone mode. Here's where I think some of the problems come in.

Even with the radio off a car can be a noisy environment. If you air conditioner is on (a necessity in most parts of California this year) you have this noise added to road and wind noise. I've tried using Siri with my iPhone 4S mounted on the dashboard with one of those mounts that grabs it from the sides. In other words, neither the speaker nor the microphone is obstructed in any way, but the phone is not six inches from my mouth. I don't think it has ever worked correctly under these conditions. If the phone had a microphone array for active noise cancellation things could be different.

Maybe it a sue case situation. I don't ever think of using Siri when there's a computer and keyboard around. I don't see the point. I am not going to use it in a meeting, around the kids or at a busy restaurant either for obvious reasons.

Here's another problem. I have a need to communicate in at least three languages: English, Spanish and German with regularity (and French occasionally). Native English and accent-less Spanish. As a silly example, if I ask "Que hora es?" (What's the time?) Siri comes back with a very funny "I don't understand 'Got ass'. But I could search the web for it.". I have to say that Siri is always good for a laugh. I do understand that it is limited to operating in one language at a time. As a programmer I know full well why this is so at this time. The significance of this is that I could not use Siri to dictate messages to clients in Europe. Even if I could, I'd most certainly have to go back, review and hand-edit messages in order to avoid potentially embarrassing errors.

I'll play with it some more, but it sure feels like most of what one could do with Siri require somewhat ideal conditions and, in a lot of cases, could be done faster by hand, particularly so when in front of a computer.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is the way of the future for a lot of the potential interactions with handheld computers. Siri is a huge step forward and I am sure it will only improve with time.

I use Siri around kids 3-16 regularly. Simply turn on the "Raise to Speak" option and it uses noise canceling to get rid of the background noise.

EDIT: turn on the option and use Siri by bringing the phone to your ear like a phone call.

> creating a private WiFi hot-spot with your iPhone 5.

> Wait a minute. The iPhone 5 doesn't do that.

Uh? It's been doing that for 4 or 5 years.

Learn something new every day. I stand corrected.

Although you seem to be wrong about it being available for 4 or 5 years. Apparently (in the US) it became available in February of last year for Verizon customers and a little later on the AT&T network.

What sucks is that, in order to enable it, you have to pay an additional $20 to $25 per month on top of your data plan.

That's just wrong. My iPhone is in WiFi nearly 100% of the time. This means that the carrier's network almost never has to deliver data to my phone save text messages and, perhaps, notifications. I'd be interesting to find out if it is actually smart enough to use WiFi for messages when available. If it does, then nearly no data goes over the cellular network. I suspect that lots of people fall into the same pattern.

So, carriers charge us for something that is underutilized and then, if we want to simply use the phone as a personal hot-spot we have to pay more!

Maybe I was right after all, in an odd sort of way.

Granted, not an Apple issue after all.

There's plenty more that could have been better with the iPhone 5. For example, why didn't they move picture and video storage to a removable mini/micro/whatever SD card and also enable this as an external file system that could also be accessed when plugged into a USB port?

> Although you seem to be wrong about it being available for 4 or 5 years. Apparently (in the US) it became available in February of last year for Verizon customers and a little later on the AT&T network.

That's a slightly different issue: tethering has been built into iOS since 3.0 (there had been kinda-hacky HTTP thethers in 2.0 but let's ignore them), but it is indeed a service operators can lock or unlock via operator settings.

> What sucks is that, in order to enable it, you have to pay an additional $20 to $25 per month on top of your data plan.

I don't, for what it's worth. My carrier gives me 2GB of data per "month" (it's prepaid so I could always get a second bundle) and i can use it for wahtever I want.

> For example, why didn't they move picture and video storage to a removable mini/micro/whatever SD card

Because now you'd need a slot for reading a microsd card. I don't know if you've looked at the teardowns, but the only way to do that is to remove a significant chunk of battery to make room, the phone is packed to the brim. And Apple is not going to trade battery life for an SD slot few people (let alone clients) care for (let alone want).

> And Apple is not going to trade battery life for an SD slot few people (let alone clients) care for (let alone want). I don't want to beat a dead horse, but iPhones lack SD/MicroSD slots because Apple wants to make more money off higher capacity models, not because users don't want them or to save space (MicroSDs and the associated hardware are astounding tiny, all these years later).

64 GiB Class 10 MicroSDs are available on Amazon for about $55. You can get an equivalent amount of storage for even less by purchasing multiple smaller capacity MicroSDs. Apple currently gets away with charging a $200 premium for only 48 extra GiB of storage in their most expensive model (64 GiB vs. 16 GiB in the standard model). Why would they want to give that premium away?

I use my iPhone as a hotspot all the time. It definitively "does that."

> Wait a minute. The iPhone 5 doesn't do that. Hey, but it's longer, thinner and faster. What else do you want?

Sadly, you're mistaken. http://i.imgur.com/SPBUH.png

If you're iPhone doesn't have it, blame your carrier http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

> If you're iPhone doesn't have it, blame your carrier http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

FWIW this only lists "partner carriers", when you buy your phone unlocked (or get a "partner carrier"-provided phone unlocked, which they have to do on request in most euro country) you can use non-partner carriers which often have different sets of restriction (up to "no restriction"). The only one usually missing from non-partners is visual voicemail.

The iOS 6 maps subsystem is the worst OS component regression Apple has shipped since Open Transport 1.0.

It is really bad, and if navigating a city is one of your key phone usage scenarios, this change makes Apple's arch-rival's devices significantly more attractive than they otherwise would be.

I carry around both the latest Apple phone and the latest Google phone, and this is one area where the Google phone was already significantly superior, even before this fairly astonishing regression in iOS 6. Now the gap is much wider.

Google could (mostly) fix that for Apple by releasing a Google maps app, but why should they?

I think it's a tricky question.

Wait six months: increases the pain iOS users feel, and possibly increases migration to Android, but by how much? If you've bought an iPhone 5, in many cases that means a 1-year contract (or renewal). And in six months, Apple may have released a better Maps app that fixes the problem.

Release Google Maps for iOS sooner: iPhone users feel less pain, but Google Maps keeps more users.

Actually though, the more I think of it, even in the latter scenario, Apple still wins, because whenever they release their fixed Maps app, they win back the entire market because they own the platform. So maybe the first strategy actually makes more sense.

Well, not every IPhone user upgraded the past week or so. Some people might think twice about upgrading to the IPhone 5 based on the complaints on the Maps app.

While there are people who are loyal Apple fans, there are some that are on the fence. This might be enough to push them over to Android or Windows Phone.

Once you go to another platform, you're likely locked into a 2-year contract and it's going to be hard for Apple to get them back.

> Once you go to another platform, you're likely locked into a 2-year contract and it's going to be hard for Apple to get them back.

I think it would be very interesting though to see what would happen if Apple did face some sort of collateral damage whether for this or some other decision. Apple hasn't exactly found itself in many tight spots, or at least doesn't let it show. If a significant chunk of users left and Apple decided it was worth it to get them back, the fastest way to get over the contract hump is just what they've done occasionally in the past: cut the price, aggressively. Of course, this might not be realistic except in some warped little technodoomsday scenario, but still... I wonder...

I for one, won't be upgrading until there is a standalone Google Maps app. I've just moved to a new city and I use Google Maps a lot to find my way around. I've seen the iOS6 maps in use and it's utter garbage in comparison.

Why does google care about people using Google Maps? The little bit of money + data they'd get from it is nothing compared to the level of frustration and outright hatred that a key app misfunctioning like this might create.

I'm betting Apple won't fix it in 6 months unless they start buying map corps.

Apple has purchased mapping companies. According to Wikipedia[1], they've purchased Placebase, Poly9, and C3 Technologies – all companies associated with mapping.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisition...

I've been using it since the first beta and it is much more useful to me. Turn by turn is great. I bet most iPhone users will also find this to be true.

Mapping is, for me, the single greatest boon of smartphones. Nothing else is appreciated in a pinch like a good map or routing - I could do away with everything else.

For Apple to cripple such a fantastic feature and leave themselves at the mercy of their arch-rival - whom they've been energetically suing - is baffling.

I love the fact that I can parachute in to some random city and walk around like I know what I am doing between maps and Yelp. I do not want to give that up.

Have you tried the new maps? The only real regressions I can see are poorer satellite imagery coverage (big whoop - it's a gimmick for 90% of the time) and non existent public transport routing. In my experience in the UK, the public transport routing never really worked on the google provided maps either.

The maps themselves are provided by TomTom and in the UK and Europe at least they are very high quality, can't speak for the US.

> The only real regressions I can see are poorer satellite imagery coverage

Map coverage of US campuses is also way down. Which makes a very small but vocal segment (US uni students) completely lose their mind over the issue. If you go to the apple/iphone subreddit, 9 out of 10 maps criticisms are US uni campus.

On the other hand, considering how those things work, I'd expect non-US locations to be just as downgraded as US campus (and testimonies in this thread seem to confirm it)

the maps for the town i'm living in (250k people, state capital in germany) are not entirely accurate. the positions of the listed businesses especially. some are downright false and some are misplaced by sometimes 400-500m.

I agree. I used it on the way home with the step by step directions and it was pretty nice and right on the spot. The graphics are also very pleasant and the visual cues are easy to grok.

The only thing I miss is street view. But I doubt that's coming back.

In one sense, it's actually the opposite. In iOS 5 and earlier, they were at the mercy of their arch-rival.

Now, by doing their own map, "crippled" or not, they're independent. They're less at Google's mercy than they were before.

If the Apple Maps app someday becomes as good as (or better) than Google Maps, this move will be seen as genius.

Actually, I don't believe Apple has sued Google.

"If I were Google, I wouldn’t launch a native Maps app for iOS 6 for at least six months, [...]"

If I were in Google's shoes, I wouldn't be launching a native Maps app. Period.

It's not like Maps is driving vast amounts of search revenue for Google. And with the degraded functionality of Apple's own Maps app, Google's Map app has become a reason for a buyer to consider switching to a Google-blessed Android phone.

And I say this as a long-time iPhone user - Maps was an important application for me. Now that it's become less functional, I'm going to actively look at Android and WP.

Maps gives google a ton of information, and it's fresh. Remember that our information is their product. They can see which areas are experiencing growth, which businesses are getting increased demand, travel patterns, etc. They can see where you like to shop and sell ads to their competitors that target you. They can deduce your shopping habits and how likely you are to eat at a fine dining restaurant vs. a fast food restaurant.

Everything they collect through maps can eventually be used to enhance their advertising offerings.

So maybe Maps isn't driving a lot of revenue right now but it's definitely one of Google's most ambitious data collection projects.

You're vastly overestimating the utility of the data. Information about the behavior of individual users will be of limited use since Google will mostly not be able to associate an iPhone user to a Google account (unless they actively force users of the app to sign in). And even then the such tracking would really need an opt-in feature to avoid being extremely creepy, and for it to be opt-in it'd need to give users a real benefit. On Android they can do it (e.g. Google Now), it's less clear that it's possible on the iPhone.

There's some value in the aggregate information from all users in improving the service, but the law of diminishing returns will be reached quickly. Losing even half the mobile maps usage would have basically no impact in the ability of Google to deduce things from the data. There might be a few exceptions like real-time traffic information where every data point is precious.

I don't think I'm truly overestimating the utility of the data so much as eliding over the massive engineering and labor required to extract useful information out of it. But that is probably Google's core competency.

I don't think Google's going to get very evil, at least not overnight. They have the infrastructure to collect all this data, the resources to store it, and the technology to make sense of it. They're already at the point where their business regularly butts against social norms regarding privacy.

Ultimately I find advertising an extremely unpleasant (if not inherently evil) phenomenon. At the highest levels it's nearly the science of manipulating unwilling people. Advertising companies, especially nebulous yet megalomaniacal tech companies with access to the best behavioral datasets possible, should be treated as highly suspect.

  > If I were in Google's shoes, I wouldn't be launching
  > a native Maps app. Period.
I hope Google does just that. It takes a nontrivial amount of stupidity to think that Apple does not know shortcomings of its maps application and are not working on fixing that.

Loosing iOS users for some barely noticeable amount of switchers is hardly a good business for Google—do they even make money from Android phones someone sells? I heard Microsoft makes more money than Google does.

> do they even make money from Android phones someone sells?

Their goal isn't to make money on the devices, so that's a little like comparing the margins on a Kindle Fire to the margins on an iPad.

"I hope Google does just that. It takes a nontrivial amount of stupidity to think that Apple does not know shortcomings of its maps application and are working on fixing that."

I'm... not sure how to parse that sentence. I guess it's implying I have a non-trivial amount of stupidity, which probably explains my parsing problem.

Transit routing is a hard problem to scale - Apple has taken a shortcut and pushed it off to 3rd party developers, who can tackle the much more approachable problem of solving it on a city-by-city basis. Which make sense... but this is still a large regression as far as users are concerned. And doesn't help folks that live in smaller cities.

Yes, Apple is probably working on this. But now we come to an odd signalling issue - Apple has basically told 3rd parties that it is worth their time investing in this area. If-and-when Apple opts to plug this functionality hole, they've pulling the rug out from under these developers. And any app developer worth his salt has to be factoring that.

And I'd be really surprised if Apple steps in any sooner than the next iOS refresh - fixing transit seems like a wonderful bullet point for iOS7.

"Loosing iOS users for some barely noticeable amount of switchers is hardly a good business for Google [...]"

Err... what are they losing, exactly? Users aren't inherently valuable. If there's value these iOS users add to Google, I'd love to hear it.

Google is already generating local search and behavioral data via their large Android install base. Beyond brand visibility (which is going to be reduced, thanks to Apple's own offering), what does releasing their own native app get them? A native version that, again I want to emphasis, Apple is actively competing against their own product. Whatever Google releases, it is now going to be a 2nd class citizen, without the OS-level hooks Apple's own solution gets. And this assumes that Apple even lets them release an app. This wouldn't be the first time Apple has blocked Google from releasing an application on iOS because it duplicates existing 1st party functionality.

Basically - why should Google release their own app?

"—do they even make money from Android phones someone sells? I heard Microsoft makes more money than Google does."

I don't think I can adaquately address this in a response to a comment. Google is not a charity, and Android does add to Google's bottom-line.

In closing - I'd fucking love it if Google released a native Maps app. I'm an iPhone user that's gotten bit by this, and am sticking with iOS5 for now. But I'm not going to hold my breathe waiting. Particularly when I don't see a compelling reason for Google to save me.

They are making a money with google play, ads..

I think they collect a lot of valuable data with their mobile maps.

They don't care so much about people using Android as they care about people using Google products - because then they can collect more data.

Of course if people are on Android the risk is a bit smaller that Google search and maps will be swapped away under their feet.

I'm pretty sure that 95% of iOS users don't even know that it WAS Google maps. All they know is the maps on their phone suddenly don't have as much information as they used to. (and hey that new flyover thing looks cool)

I don't really see holding out on a release being beneficial to Google, in fact quite the opposite.

Now people will have an app called 'Google Maps' that will be the one they know and love, and might even get them to consider 'hey, maybe i should check out those Google phones as well'.

I'm personally going to hold out on iOS6 for a little while longer while some of the issues get explained or ironed out.

I am surprised Samsung didn't pounce on this opportunity in their marketing materials.

Instead they are propping features like "Palm Picture Capture", "Tilt to Mute", and other dumb things that nobody really cares about. http://images.latinospost.com/data/images/full/5424/samsung-...

Things like this is what differentiates great companies, from ones that just doen't get it. Users don't care about useless feature list, they care about end experience.

Anyone who says, "just use the mobile web version!" has never actually used the Google Maps app (what do I even call this now?)

Not being able to visually see bus routes (without clicking on another link) and the directions, and then also compare them to walking times is a big feature missing in the mobile web version. It also suffers from a large "below the fold" problem where on my iPhone 4S I cannot see the directions because the inputs for the start and end location take up so much space. It took me a while before I realized that Google had already loaded my directions.

The only upside to mobile is having access to bike routes.

This is exactly the OPPOSITE of why I'm intrigued and impressed by Google as a company. They just want people to have access to their services. They are not about authoritative control over who gets access and locking their users in a walled garden. Android is wonderful and Google's done a great job of integrating their services with it.. but why shouldn't iOS users have at least some of the same benefits (if Apple allows them of course)

  > They just want people to have access to their services.
They just want to have access to the people :)

"They are not about authoritative control over who gets access and locking their users in a walled garden."

You think the iOS maps app was stagnant for such a long time because of what? Because Apple is lazy?

It's obvious they don't want to be on the hand of a competitor. Google Maps used to be free with a large API quota when released, remember? Then, once everybody was using it, they updated the API and imposed a much more limited free quota (almost useless), and released a premium version.

Well, I tried getting in touch with anyone at Google to get a quote about the price for their premium API. I couldn't even talk to a human, let alone pay for the service. Now imagine you're Apple, and how much Google would charge.

But there's just no possible way Apple can win out of this - there is nothing really comparable to Google Maps out there, and mapping has been core iPhone functionality from the get-go. Many people rely on it every day. Even if Google were charging a huge premium behind the scenes Google Maps have always been presented as "the Apple iPhone mapping app" not "Google Maps for iPhone" and so it'll reflect on Apple for messing it up, not Google.

"there is nothing really comparable to Google Maps out there"

How exactly? The previous app used Google Maps API and was completely lackluster. The only good thing using their API is their own Android app.

Now, what are Apple's options again?

Contribute to the cash flow of a company detaining the monopoly on mapping data when they can backstab you at any moment? That sounds like the stupidest strategic decision ever. Better get a true partnership.

I'm amazed how HN crowd is vocal against the big companies, but when it's about Google their monopolies are actually encouraged...

Nothing comparable? I thought Microsoft and Nokia both have pretty decent mapping.

Yes, my dad has a Nokia and the last time we travelled we used it's maps application, not the one in my iOS 5. The old iPhone app is simply impossible to use with 3G, it looks like it downloads bitmaps instead of vector data, and takes ages to update.

They do, and I actually prefer the look and feel of Bing's maps when on my computer, but Bing's app is not mapping focused, Nokia's only has navigation when on foot, and neither have streetview or offline mapping.

The new Google Map pricing affected the Top 0.35% of its API users.

What kind of site do you have?

A site big enough to hit free quota limits, but small enough for Google to not care.

> I couldn't even talk to a human

Really? That doesn't sound right. Please send me a mail and I will follow up. My initials at google dot com.

Well, it is likely that some deal-making (or lack thereof) behind the curtain is why Apple had to release a new maps tool in the first place.

But for users, yes.

The lack of including public transit routing was a huge miss -- the "Designed in California", everyone has a car confused the decision making.

I've found the Embark transit applications to be a great alternative (at least for Chicago). It doesn't make up for other missing features like Street View, but you'd be surprised how many users did not even know those features existed.

Unfortunately, Embark's applications don't do inter-city transit, and they only exist for a few large cities. Even with a 3rd party app installed, and completely ignoring the regression in UX, iOS 6 has a major regression in functionality. Try typing the following into Google maps: "Redondo Beach to UCSB" Then look at the public transit options.

This is a completely plausible scenario, and look at how Google shines:

1) Seven different transit agencies are represented in the first four suggested routes: LA County Metro, LA City DOT, Culver City Bus, Amtrak, Metrolink and Santa Barbara Transit

2) Google has no trouble mixing and matching the agencies to find the best route (but gives the user the option of reducing transfers).

3) Each route option only requires a subset of those, usually three.

4) Google knows that UCSB means University of California Santa Barbara, and picks a reasonable location on campus

5) This journey works my iPhone 4, but not on an iPhone 5

SF & NYC are the two most transit heavy cities in the USA. Cupertino is a 1 hr drive from SF, and I bet many apple employees live in SF. I'm fairly sure this was just a cut feature for the time they have and they probably already have it working or are developing it for iOS 7.

Many people here seem to be reading this as "Apple is stupid for switching to their own map app". But I think reading it as "Google is smart for forcing Apple to switch to an inferior map app" is a more realistic situation.

I remember tech pundits years ago saying that Android needs a killer app. I guess Android finally has one. It's Google Maps.

For me it was always Google Maps thanks to the navigation.

iOS6 maps simply does not work in Tokyo. Here's a comparison my friend posted.. Tokyo Station doesn't exist at all, and the level of details is woeful.


This does not bode well for international users. I've been traveling through Asia for the past year, and the Google-based maps app has been invaluable (and quite accurate) in every country I've been to.

On the other hand, my girlfriend just upgraded to iOS 6 and her version of maps is basically completely useless. It won't find anything that my iOS 5 version can find.

Maps are such an important feature for travelers that I basically can't upgrade to iOS 6 until the situation is addressed, hopefully by Google releasing a standalone maps app.

This one's better: https://twitter.com/ahm/status/248064518566051840

The lack of train lines on the maps until you zoom in super-far is shockingly bad. At least your friend managed to find things with his searches - most of my searches for Japanese addresses just come up with "not found" error. Apple's maps definitely seem far more car-oriented than walking or public-transit oriented.

I've taken to carrying an Android phone along with my iPhone.

To be fair, they look about the same, they're just not marked and the transit system isn't drawn in. It's just blank. If the transit system still exists and is accessible in the back end, then it's not so bad and is actually about the same --- just doesn't look as pretty.

Oh, and I'm not an Apple fanboy. The most recent piece of Apple hardware I have is a iPhone 3G. My upgrade from that was a Motorola Droid and then a Droid Bionic.

It's really not usable.

Apart from having NO STATION (It's a really really big station - busiest and one of the biggest in Tokyo) several different train line's terminals are merged into one blue blip smack bang in the center.

There are no convenience stores / landmark shops (eg. mosburger) which ALL Japanese use to find their way around due to lack of order in building numbers (no street numbers.)

The 26, 27 etc. you see are numbered blocks which people use to find addresses - not visible on new map.

No indication of one way streets in most cases. Shinjuku, like many dense parts of Tokyo, has a lot of one way streets.

If you're walking around Shinjuku on foot (as everybody does), Apple's map is basically useless. Note how the Google map has all the exits marked, the different stations (JR vs Metro vs Keio line). The whole red area on the Google map is the station, part of it underground. Navigating around Tokyo, maps of stations are essential.

The level of detail for London looks just as bad: http://i.imgur.com/W6ksp.jpg

... for a moment I thought that was iPhone UI put up next to Android UI ... I thought this was funny.

I think Apple believes that their map app will eventually become as good as Google's.

Also, by doing this, Apple denies Google the information about what locations Apple's users are looking for and makes this available to only Apple.

Christ guys, I count 5 misspellings of 'loose' and 'lose' in this thread. It's NOT that hard.

If I were Apple, I would had been very pissed off with Google's inferior Maps app for iOS than its Android one. If Maps is so core to a smartphone's overall experience, perhaps it is better to break it from a competitor's control sooner than later.

You do realize Apple created the app, right? Google only provides the data.

But Google placed restrictions on how Apple could use the data. For example, Google did not allow Apple to have turn by turn navigation.

I'm not familiar, is Google specifically blocking Apple from using that data or have they simply not published an API for turn-by-turn yet?

Google requires a contract if you want to use their mapping data in applications or if you go over certain free limits (which Apple's app certainly did).

This contract allegedly contained terms that disallowed Apple from implementing Turn by Turn directions in their application.

My bet is that the end users aren't even going to notice. I switched my website maps from Google to OSM/Leaflet and absolutely no one noticed or cared enough to email me about it.

Disclaimer: I didn't use OSM's default/ugly color palette. Disclaimer #2: I have used iOS 6 maps, and the most visible change (other than the color palette) is that subway markers are clickable and that Yelp is more tightly integrated into the pin details.

Changing the maps you use on your web site and changing the maps on a person's smartphone are hugely different.

Without knowing more about your web site I can't do a detailed comparison, but unless people use your web site every day, on the move, to search for transit, business and social locations then the use cases just aren't the same. Not to mention that the biggest issue with Apple Maps is the dismal coverage outside of the US.

Here here. We switched our website's map system from Google to OSM/Leaflet when they jacked up the Maps API price. We love the new platform. But we just use it for yelp-like "create a bounding search zone and annotate places" effects.

If I had to use the same system to actually route myself from place to place, it would drive me insane. As an actual mapping product, Google Maps is peerless.

I live in NYC and use my phone to navigate subways everywhere. I'll notice.

End users maybe won't notice if they live in a major city and never want to leave. My town (which is small, but not nowhere: a fairly major tourist destination near a large city) has gone from detailed satellite imagery to no more than about 500 total pixels. You don't need to be a power user to see that kind of regression.

Do you actually use the satellite imagery that often? Most people I know used it once, to look at their house, then switched it back to the map view.

For Apple, they just need to license more satellite data, which they no doubt will. Google maps satellite coverage was pretty sketchy in the early days too.

Well, it's kindof nice to get high resolution satellite photos when you're getting walking directions in a city you've never been in. Atleast I found this useful on Android.

Not a dealbreaker, I guess, I'd just be mildly annoyed if I lose that

One of my colleagues who is a foam at mouth rabid Apple supporter said he is switching to Android because of this. He lives in San Francisco and uses the public transit stuff extensively and now is screwed.

Transit, traffic and street view are being removed for a large number of users. They'll notice: http://theunderstatement.com/post/31855177665/quantifying-th...

It's easy to notice the difference in the map app. Click the bus route button. Instead of the normal times listed, you get rerouted to a blank page on the App Store.

Does anyone know why in the 5 years of the maps app it was never updated? Is it possible Google didn't want to maintain the app on iOS? We are assuming Apple had some control over whether the Google app stayed on iOS but the contract was up, and it's possible Google didn't want to renew. After all, Google has a web based app that works on iOS... Maybe that's all Google wants to give.

Google didn't write the iOS 1-5 Maps app. Apple did.

Really? Although the maps show less information, I found the navigation feature much more usable now. For me, it's the most useful feature since I don't have a car with GPS and TomTom's app is pricey. Now I have it built-in.

For finding other stuff I can always use other apps or Google Maps mobile, which is very decent too.

The routing is nice. The maps themselves are much less detailed and in many areas have no detail at all or are completely incorrect, in the sense that they show roads in places where there have never been roads, and roads which have been there for 30 years are absent.

The maps are okay for me, but I'm in a big city (São Paulo). Since the map data comes from TomTom, it should be decent, at least that's the GPS everybody I know uses.

Has anyone used Ovi maps in iOS? I used to prefer Ovi Maps to Google Maps for navigation type usage back when I used both a E71 and Android handset.

I wonder if Nokia has any ambition take advantage of the current situation?

Given that Nokia is already selling map data to Amazon for the Kindle Fire, they almost certainly do. That being said, their means of taking advantage might be pointing out their WP8 phones' relative advantage in this area.

If I were Google and my main stream of income was ads, I would not give a shit about platforms and release map apps with ads for any relevant platform.

Not like Google makes significant money off of Android itself.

But, the more apps and platforms switch off it, less eyeballs will see your ads. A bunch of apps switched to OpenMaps already, right? The whole GMaps API bruhaha already forgotten?

But this doesn't fit into that nerd-rage fueled platform war narrative, so disregard. First OS to include a neckbeard trimmer wins.

This clearly makes commercial sense for Google in the short/medium term, but fails "don't be evil".

I got screwed by iOS 6 Beta's lack of transit directions in NYC this summer; I had no reason to expect a serious feature regression, and I'm amazed this made it to release. It might be a Cupertino vs SF thing, but really, even a car owning Bay Area tech person is going to use the subway when visiting NYC or some other cities, so even Apple employees though have prioritized it.

How does not adding features to a competitor's product fail "don't be evil"?

Sounds more like "don't be stupid". We don't see Apple distributing Siri for Android.

I would pay a lot of money for a native Google Maps app. It's the single most used feature for me on my phone.

The only feature I want is the ability to download maps to the phone. Going to another country and not having maps is debilitating. I spent $300 by not realizing how much data I would download, and download a map while in the middle of one of the Great Lakes in Canada. Being able to download maps while at a wifi connection for the city that I'm in is crucial.

It's not mentioned here yet. In safari or chrome on iOS going to maps.google.com works pretty darn well. Except for showing me what direction I'm currently facing it is pretty darn close.

So if the new app is giving you that much trouble or you need that little bit more of information that google provided you. Just open it up.

heh. Google can't release a Maps app - mostly because that would be duplicating a service that Apple already provides, and apple hates competition !

This was more true in 2008-2010 maybe, but recently Apple has been much less restrictive. There are 3rd party browsers (chrome, opera, Firefox)*, 3rd party mail apps(gmail, Firefox), and 3rd part maps apps (tomtom).

That said, the lack of third party transit from apple is pretty horrible, and the API for the maps app is pretty limited (you have to throw the start and end points to your app, there's no overlays or anything like that)

Google has made several apps that duplicate functionality (Gmail, Chrome, etc.) Apple doesn't care.

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