It still has a pretty useless database of locations. The listings for many shops/venues in my area are literally years (sometimes decades) out of date, even after I reported them back when iOS 6 was a beta. This is slowly improving, seemingly starting with locations that are commonly visited, but it's still not there. However, given that most of my use cases are "Enter post (ZIP) code, go there", this doesn't really matter. 90% of the time, Apple maps works fine, and there's no reason to use something else, especially when it's ad-laden.
Given that maps are not a core concern for Apple, I've always been surprised they've not just thrown money at improving open street maps. A few hundred million to setup an "OSM foundation" (or fund an existing one) could seriously help them (decent free mapping database to use), and hurt Google (major commercial advantage limited/eliminated). They could probably get MS onboard as well.
And the OSM foundation does already exist:
Which maps are you talking about?
Hopefully I've thrown them about £50 over the past couple of years by bookmarking them as my link to Amazon.
And worryingly, Google has removed that layer entirely from their mobile application.
Incidentally, if you have any, even mild, OCD tendencies, you might want to avoid Openstreetmap, haha. That new Id editor is dangerous.
People will say they support open-source via certain projects but the proof is in the pudding.
If they're using OSM data to cement one of their key platform apps, they need to donate money, lots of it, and be public about it.
Remember, as fanboys like to crow, Apple has $100 billion of cash lying around and Google's share price is sky high.
None of those things are intrinsically wrong or bad- if they weren't so competitive, they probably wouldn't have all that money in the first place, and as users we might not have any sort of maps at all on the Internet, or much lower-quality ones.
None of those things are intrinsically correct or good either, as users would surely benefit from that type of cooperation. It's just The Way It Is.
I wish the type of collaboration you describe could happen, and maybe it will some day. It's easy to anthropomorphize corporations as super rich individuals who sell stuff to people and aren't beholden to anyone, which is exactly what the tech press does most of the time, but the reality is way more complicated.
I'm surprised that you're surprised, It's not really typical for Apple to improve an open source solution instead of build and lock their own. Or am I unaware of Apple contributions here and there?
Apple is very sensitive about licenses, e.g. they've stopped updating OS X's GNU tools 6 years ago to avoid GPL v3.
OSM's ODBL is share-alike, so Apple probably didn't like having risk of share-alike apply to their proprietary data.
They are exceptions in the sense that most of their software is proprietary, but they're still important core components. They also distribute a couple hundred open source packages with OS X: http://www.apple.com/opensource/
I only know what's reported here on HN, but they mostly seem sensitive about copyleft, not open source in general.
But they do use OSM data: https://twitter.com/openstreetmap/statuses/19810151220183449...
As they should be. The fact that they stopped updating because of GPL doesn't mean they don't support open source. Lot's of people will support MIT and BSD licenses, but not GPL3.
I.e either Apple want to sue people for using software technology which Apple themselves would distribute freely under an MIT/BSD license.
Or they do not want support open source projects with all the code related to those projects. I think this is the more likely culprit, which is in line with pornel comments that Apple probably didn't like having risk of share-alike apply to their proprietary data.
(Of course, if you are talking about distributing MIT/BSD software binaries vs GPLv3, all the other parts of GPLv3 need to be considered. This post only address the willingness to support open source projects with source code.)
The 10% use cases I was referring to are the "I want to find generic type of business in this area" case, and the "I need a street view of this" case, both of which are (for me) comparatively rare versus searching for a post-code or known address.
Isn't that the definition of "good enough"? If it were truly awful, then she'd be forced to look up an alternative, because it'd never work. So it must work well enough for her.
These anecdotes about typing "20 Jay Street" and ending up at Niagara Falls are kind of silly. That's been my experience of all mapping applications, and, regardless of whether it happens more in Apple Maps (I'm sure it does!), the solution is so obvious I never even think about it; I just further qualify the address. "20 Jay Brooklyn" in Apple Maps, right next to a coffee roasting place near the bridge.
That said, while I use Apple Maps for the vast majority of the time, for certain non-major/obvious addresses, I find myself double-checking in GMaps.
What's really frustrating is that it throws out any errors at all in major cities like SF!
This is the same reason why Chrome won't be able to cement itself on iOS. If it weren't for iOS's minuscule market share, this would be justification for a major DoJ crackdown. They took MS to court just for setting a default browser - imagine what it would be like for Apple, which doesn't even let you change it.
Moreover, I don't think that average iOS users actually care. Most of them didn't even realize that Google Maps was replaced by an Apple equivalent. And when Apple Maps doesn't work correctly, they just accept that that's how things are - that's the sort of mentality that Apple cultivates in its users.
Joe User : "Huh, that's different" If it still works they go about their day.
Average Hacker News User: "Dammit, they moved the border padding 1 pixel to the left and the anti-aliasing on the font looks different when I look at it with a magnifying glass at 2 inches from my eyeball. I have to complain on my tech blogs right away about this travesty!"
Strawman. I never used the word "ignorance." It's more like acceptance of things as they are.
> Joe User : "Huh, that's different" If it still works they go about their day.
> Average Hacker News User: "Dammit, they moved the border padding 1 pixel to the left and the anti-aliasing on the font looks different when I look at it with a magnifying glass at 2 inches from my eyeball. I have to complain on my tech blogs right away about this travesty!"
Reductio ad absurdum, and you totally missed my point. I'm not talking about situations where something has just changed, I'm talking about when something has changed such that it no longer works. In such a situation, Apple users tend to consider that acceptable, such as with Apple Maps or with antennagate. As long as that fruity logo is present, they'll buy just about anything.
http://x-callback-url.com/ has the info.
So as it currently works on iOS you cannot say to OS: hey, I want to use this app for http, instead you check if there is an app that handles "googlechrome(s)" scheme, and if yes you can replace your http(s) in URI to googlechrome(s) and then it will open in Chrome instead of Mobile Safari.
I wouldn't call a 40% market share (and growing) in the US, the area in which the DOJ has jurisdiction, minuscule.
> To exaggerate wildly: there are laws that only apply to
1.) You can't select a contact and find them on the map. This is just such a miss I can't imagine why it's not there. Very likely due to non-technical reasons, because it's one of the major reasons I use a map.
2.) No vector maps. Probably the same reason. Offline caching of bitmap data is ok, but offline vectors scale so much better (zooming them doesn't break the map). I've driven out of the country and with no data service Apple Maps does a way better job of caching my map data giving me a "good enough" view of where I need to go.
That said, Google Maps has way way better search, and with a jailbroken phone and the Google Maps default replacement thing it's pretty good, but even with those the two above reasons are why I stick with Apple Maps on iOS (if I can't find something I know is there I'll switch to gmaps).
I guess I'm wrong about that then :). My assumption was based on the fact that when I traveled into areas with no data coverage, I distinctively remember Google Maps having great difficulty with cached map data, while Apple Maps didn't.
(In the hotel prior to driving I would load both maps and directions in both apps, "click through" the directions to give the apps a chance to cache the data, and then go on my way - if I dicked around in Google Maps it tended to just not show anything, or a very very fuzzy view of where I was, whereas Apple tended to show a low-precision (but clear) view of where I was.)
It seems to me Google Maps would have to preemptively request permission to access local contacts because it wouldn't know in advance if a particular search should match a contact. And some people might be confused by the unexpected request and not understand why contact search isn't working later (or be confused if they disabled Google Maps' contact access because they didn't make the connection).
I can certainly see how, from Google's perspective, it seems cleaner to use the contact store they know they have access to and is presumably the same one they'd use on other platforms - promoting consistency. Is that ideal for every user? Clearly not. But, in the spirit of the original article, it is probably the way to get contact search working with minimum friction for most users.
If it used local contacts and I had denied it access when it asked on the first startup, it could instead display a message saying so, offering a button to click to request access to contacts again. It would be strictly less complicated for the user.
* except Opera which was doing page rendering on a server farm in the cloud to get around the anti-competitive rules.
The problem is that by bundling this particular application, and by its behaviour with that application (ignoring standards etc.), Microsoft was able to massively distort the web market based on its monopoloy position rather than technical merit. This affected the development of the web for years afterwards - even to this day!
If you agree these problems existed (I don't think it's a controversial opinion...), then the conclusion is precisely that MS should not be able to set the default web browser, because allowing to do so would be ultimately more damaging than giving users a slightly poorer experience when they have to install their own. This is a quantitatively different situation to that of many other default apps, where MS neither wants nor tries to monopolistically dominate a a massive emerging market segment - but if they did, perhaps the same questions would come up again.
Edit: So I guess the summary would be yes, MS does get to set lots of default applications, but this is exactly what the case was about. Should they actually be allowed to do so? Even if sometimes it's okay, what about the times where this lets them dominate for reasons totally unrelated to technical superiority?
Referring to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrowserChoice.eu
Seriously, I get that a lot of people here don't like not being able to set the default map application on an iPhone, but to liken that to Microsoft's monopolistic behavior is preposterous.
I'm honestly not trying to troll..
They controlled > 95% of the market for personal computers.
They then used that position, to try and force consumers to use their specific browser through various means.
Because of their massive market share average consumers had very little alternative choice but to buy into microsoft’s system.
So long as Google continues to offer Android as a $0 OS I honestly don't see that happening.
I suppose they were trying to simplify, but now I can't figure out how to send someone a pin, how to click on a pin, how to find things around a pin, etc.
I gave up and switched to Bing. First for maps, but then for everything, and it doesn't seem like I gave anything up; I guess wasn't as married to a search/map engine as I had previously thought.
I agree with other comments here, that on the phone, Apple maps is certainly "good enough".
How do you view transit lines? It took me months to figure out that you could hover over the search box and click the blue Transit link. This is a hugely important feature to me, and it's hidden.
Just in the past few days they did finally add back the little orange peg-man as a Street View interface, which is a big improvement.
To be fair the search box is expanded by default so the transit link is on the screen when you load maps. If you click the map the search box minimizes and you would have to either click it again or hover over.
Between that, random crashiness all the time, and the lack of multiple waypoints it's virtually useless to me.
(recently I was planning a road trip with multiple waypoints and needed street view pictures of some of the locations, the new google maps was so absurdly bad for this that I had to switch back to the old interface)
edit I see they've finally brought back the street view blue outlines and they've allowed "explore" to go away without taking away Earth/Maps navigation AND multiple destinations (AT LAST). Now all I have to do is convince them to move the traffic overlay down to the same place as earth/maps so I don't have to hunt around the entire screen. It's better, but not perfect.
this thread is indicating it is doing real time rerouting
Yesterday I went to the beer store( that is what it's called in Ontario). Being at a new house I used apple maps on my phone.
The first 3 results it showed had no beer store there. I finally found it using google maps.
>ComScore's data suggests though that comparatively few iPhone owners actually take the trouble to use Google's maps
It's pretty much worthless for determining how effective the app is at finding locations. My hyperbolic statement can't be justified by the data provided. Perhaps apple users spend their time looking up hundreds of locations and google users are only able to find one.
There's an obvious selection bias, and i don't know what the effect is. I'd claim smartphone users aren't all that different, they just want to look stuff up, and they'd look it up at comparable rates. If that's true, it takes apple maps users longer to find stuff.
For example, living in Paris, if I want to go to the CNIT (a shopping centre located at La Defense), Apple Maps itself refuses to give me the address. But if I ask the Yelp app, it points me straight to it, and from there I click on a link and I have my itinerary in Maps.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the remaining flaws in Apple Maps are so easy to route around now that they just aren't much of an issue.
Hell, let's try this right now. I'm sitting at work in Brooklyn. I just typed in "20 Jay St", the address of my building. Apple Maps has my location, this should be a piece of CAKE.
... And now I'm at "20 Main Tavern" near Plattsburg, NY, by the Canadian border.
I also just searched for my home address, which is a 5 minute subway ride away in Manhattan. I ended up at "3rd St & Baker Springs Rd" in Wickes, AK.
Or searching for "161 Canal" takes me to "161 Canal Lane" in Jackson, NJ, as opposed to the much more obvious "161 Canal Street" in Manhattan.
Apple Maps is full of nonsense, either searching via POI or via address, or via intersection. It's practically useless. At this point I'm pretty sure I need to memorize Lat/Long just to use this thing, or be absurdly specific every time I use it. "Empire State Building, the one in Manahttan, if you please"
If I type that same query out, I get "Directions Not Found." I don't get it.
My typical use case is: (1) look up an address. (2) see how long it would take to get there via subway/bus, (3) if that takes "too long", compare with how long it would take if I flagged a cab instead.
Using Apple Maps to get transit directions, I have to pick which transit app to use EVERY TIME - even though I always use the same one, there's no way to specify just use that one - which means extra clicks. Then if the available routes I get aren't great there's no way to jump back and check driving or walking directions instead for the same address, because to "jump back" would mean re-launching a different application that I just left and finding the address again.
I did a comparison of about 30 sample lookups when it was brand new, and Google correctly responded to about 27 of them; Apple got two. I repeated the test about six months ago, and the only thing that had changed was that Google got one more right.
Not to mention, the article assumes Apple wouldn't have attempted to develop its own app even if Google met all its needs. As we've seen previously, Apple's strategy has always been about controlling the user experience. IMHO, there's no way that Apple would've allowed Google maps to dominate its iOS users for much longer... regardless of this issue of navigation, etc. It would've just been something else as an excuse to move their users to their own platform.
Google wanted more significant branding (which is fair enough), anything that takes control of the appearance out of Apple's hands is likely to be a deal-breaker.
an example of this not working is that; when Siri first launched it was unable to process requests for map lookups, or questions about local businesses (out of the US) because it would use google, and apple wouldn't pay for the expanded regions.
this is all in my head from a conversation years ago and might be wrong, but I'd be interested to know if anyone else had information.
Some of the relevant paragraphs:
> The two sides bickered over a Google Maps feature called Street View, which lets people see an actual photo as if they are standing in the street. Apple wanted to incorporate Street View on the iPhone just as Google already offered it for Android phones. Google initially withheld the feature, frustrating Apple executives, according to people on both sides of the debate.
> Apple executives also wanted to include Google's turn-by-turn-navigation service in the iPhone—a feature popular with Android users because it lets people treat their phones as in-car GPS devices. Google wouldn't allow it, according to people on both sides. One of these people said Google viewed Apple's terms as unfair.
> Google executives, meantime, also bristled at Apple's refusal to add features that would help Google. For instance, Google wanted to emphasize its brand name more prominently within the maps app. It also wanted Apple to enable its service designed to find friends nearby, dubbed Latitude, which Apple refrained from doing, said people on both sides.
No one expected Google to win any more than people expected Netscape to win when Microsoft decided to make a browser, because Microsoft can control the default. Once they allowed other browsers to usurp the default position (thanks, Justice Department!), the browser wars were back on.
Unfortunately, Apple is so far from a monopoly that iPhone users will never have the ability to choose their default maps, mail, calendar, camera, phone or music app.
Apple Maps is, generally in my area, out of date and missing businesses and schools and unfortunately I don't see it getting better.
In the course of a "google maps doesn't have these problems" discussion I pulled up Google maps, and lo and behold, it has the same problem.
Fast forward to the present and they both still show this long dead hospital despite me taking the time to send in corrections from time to time. For a long time the new location was trivially verifiable by following the map's own web link. Now that URL is dead, so it would require a quick search and a tiny bit of thought.
I hope no one relies on that information in an emergency to get someone to a hospital.
These were reported via Google Maps on Android.
An anecdote, I know, but I'm just saying Google has these problems too. It's not just Apple.
For my location, I usually provide updates/corrections via Mapmaker; it goes through a community review process and shows up in the main Maps within a couple of months (at most).
I have lost score on how many times Yelp has glaringly gotten business hours wrong, for hot restaurants in major neighborhoods.
This from a website whose whole purpose is to help customers find businesses.
Frankly, business hours are a some what tricky problem as it is purely up to the whim and fancy of the establishment, when it wants to stay open or when it wants to have reduced hours or when it wants to be closed for business.
I wish businesses and restaurants were required to maintain minimum standards of serviceability in this and many other regards.
The headline is a little dramatic. I don't know if Google "lost", surely they predicted this sort of situation when they chose not to renew their licensing deal with Apple.
I'm not saying Apple Maps is as a bad product, but I think the basic reason for its adoption is the same,as the article mentions.
It's good enough for most people, and it's the default on the platform.
Apple Maps POI still sucks, but its navigation works better than Google Maps. I use Waze for when I need time-sensitive, accurate navigation.
To me it's impossible that POI information is terrible and navigation work better. Apple Maps can beautifully navigate you to the wrong place, but that's useless. Accurate information is the most important information by far for mapping and navigation.
I know a lot of iOS users who swear by it, because it has much better live traffic data, and Google purchased it earlier this year.
I think Bob's Discount Maps, Bait, and Tackle probably works fine in San Francisco. Outside the Bay Area, it's bad. Outside the US, you'd be better off with paper maps than Apple Maps -- they'll burn better when you're lost.
Want to save a bookmark to your friend's apartment in Google Maps like you used to be able to do? Good luck with that. Google has decided that locations can only be "starred" and not associated with a name.
Turn-by-turn navigation is also much better with Apple Maps. Upcoming turns are announced more often and at more convenient intervals. I hardly ever miss a turn when using Apple Maps, but I certainly cannot say the same for Google.
I do give apple maps a try, even recently, however _every_ time I use apple maps it gives me directions I know are inferior or it will put me near my destination but in an incredibly inconvenient spot.
For example: The other week I wanted to find a way to a train station, I used Siri and let it open up and plan via apple maps. It 'found' my destination and placed the map marker at the nearest possible spot (the map did not have the station lot or it's connecting road). The problem was that the closest spot was on the other side of the tracks with no way to cross except take a multi-mile detour.
Just the other day I had to make the same trip, this time I used google maps and not only did have the whole station complex on the map it correctly routed me to it.
I simply cannot trust apple maps. It may be easier to use via siri or safari links but if it wastes my time by giving me crap information than it really is not helping. A few seconds of copy and pasting addresses into google maps app or using it's built in search is well worth not having to worry about taking a forced apple detour.
With Android outselling iPhone 4 to 1, it's hard to say that they didn't achieve their objective.
Apple sell a premium product at a premium price - market share doesn’t mean shit if your profit from each device sold is three fifths of fuck all.
Google.com: Internet feeling slow, use Chrome! CHROME! GET CHROME! CHROME MAKES YOUR DIALUP FEEL LIKE FIBER!!!!!!!
Youtube: Video taking a long time to buffer, use Chrome!
Gmail: Want to use any of the value-added options (chat, video, etc), better use Chrome!
It gained a lot of share, without doubt, but it's far from being the winner.
From the OP:
> 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.
Obviously, Apple advocates would argue that this is a victory based on technical implementation...Apple Maps may not be the greatest, but the consistency of UI and behavior, in the long run, is better for users, so say the Apple advocates.
I use both an iPad and an Android...I'll likely never go back to an iPhone because the Google implementation of things is so much better...it's not just maps, but the keyboard...it's unbelievable how much better Swiftkey is than the iPad keyboard...I can hardly type on the iPad without making typos due to autocorrect, on SwiftKey, I can barely deliberately make typos.
And of course, iPhone users scoff at the idea of "having" to install a keyboard. And I'll give them some credit...the way that Android keeps asking me what I want to do with a link when I click it from an app (such as Twitter) can be annoying, because I'm the type of person who won't pick "keep this as default"...I say sincerely that it is a cognitive benefit when iOS just makes the choice for you. And I'm saying that as a technically-proficient person...for those who aren't, this lack of choice is probably an overall benefit to their happiness.
They are very slowly undoing some of the damage that the incredibly misguided earlier 7.x.x releases caused, but 6.x.x is still, by far, the superior app for now.
Google introduced the flat interface in its website and pioneered it in Chrome. (Yes, IE had long ago been flat but it was ugly.) It even made the icon completely flat. Android had simple, flat designs. Apple had nice skeumorphism.
Then surprisingly both Microsof and Apple followed Google's design aesthetic! Except Google does it better. Take Apple for example ... I thought I'd never see the day when I'd aay Google's app interfaces are more consistent and beautiful than Apple's. But it's true. They have buttons that look beautiful when pressed, due to 3D hints. All their apps have the same consistent aesthetic. Since iOS7, the aame cannot be said of Apple's apps.
It makes Google's suite of apps a pleasure to use. And speaking of the suite side of Google, look at it:
These first two alone are the go to solutions for anyone who needs that stuff. Want to show maps? Use Google (maybe bing). Want to embed video or link to one? YouTube! (would you use vimeo on mobile?)
In short... Google is an indispensable part of everyone's mobile phone and can charge for its large integrations.
The biggest 3 problems for me with Apple Maps were that: 1) the map was zoomed in too far so I couldn't tell what turns were coming up; 2) as far as I could tell, there was no textual representation of how far I needed to go on the current road or which direction my next turn would be; 3) dragging the map is not a "thing" in Apple Maps. I like to be able to drag the map to look ahead at the route, and Apple just doesn't let you do that. You can only pivot around your current GPS position, and since you're already zoomed in too far, it doesn't help at all.
Apple may have "won" in the sense that they have claimed a lot of usage share, but from the perspective of a satisfied Google Maps user, I certainly feel like the end user has lost.
Er ... was that how it happened?
[Google] asked for in-app branding. Apple declined. It suggested adding Google Latitude [giving up the location data of Apple's users]. Again, Apple declined.
[...] having chosen Google as its original mapping partner, the iPhone maker was now in a position where an archrival was calling the shots on functionality important to the iOS maps feature set.
Everything they make says "Designed by Apple in California," not "Designed by Apple and a hundred other companies." Agree or disagree with the strategy, that is the reason they did their own maps.
What do you mean? The App Store is filled with apps designed by hundreds of other companies. Why is it different for maps?
When I bought an Android phone I instantly fell in love with the concept of intents, where you can choose what app opens when you're click on an address, a URL, a link or open up a keyboard. It was then I realized that this was exactly what Microsoft had been convicted for and what Mac users were so vocal about in the nineties.
I still use a Mac, because I think that Windows is still prevalent enough that Apple is forced to keep it honest, but the moment they will break that point in mind- and market-share I'll be forced to migrate.
The split was inevitable, and while Google may have accelerated the split, I don't think it's really a mistake on their part.
Personally I used both Google Maps and Apple Maps to around navigate Australia in a mobile home recently. At times both maps where useless, but generally Google Maps was just awful.
Its been stated in this thread that Apple Maps is good enough, but the flip side is, in rural Australia at least, Google Maps just isn't good enough.
A compromise in user experience is nothing but a loss for consumers.