Google Scared of Losing Maps to Apple?

  • June 11, 2012
  • Tech
  • Comments Off on Google Scared of Losing Maps to Apple?

Google Scared of Losing Maps to Apple?

Once upon a time, online mapping is something few people paid attention to. We had some known brands like MapQuest which provided very basic maps of the world, and people who needed to view the streets of a town could get relatively recent information through those sites. But then, Google arrived with its brand new Google Maps, and they basically changed everything. Since then, the company has been improving its mapping solution and quickly gained the lion’s share of the market, thanks to innovative features like street view, 3D buildings, satellite views, and more. It even allowed any site and device maker to include those maps for free, so you started to see web sites and mobile devices include Google Maps for a wide variety of functions.

But last year, Google changed its policies, and slowly started to alienate various people and companies. They already lost some key players like FourSquare because of these policies, and now Apple is likely to be next. What did they do to cause all this, and can they fix it? Let’s see what’s really going on. First, their ever free solution became not so free anymore. Suddenly, Google started charging very high amounts for any site or device that wanted to use Google Maps with more than a certain amount of users. It still remained free for very small sites, but as soon as you had a regular amount of traffic, then you needed to pay. Simply put, a lot of sites just couldn’t afford to use Google Maps anymore. So both Microsoft’s mapping solution along with Open Street Maps, an open source mapping site, have started seeing a lot of new customers.

In the case of Apple, it’s slightly more complex. Apple and Google used to be good friends, in fact when the iPhone was released, the company included all sorts of Google products including Search in Safari, Google Maps, YouTube, etc. But now, because of Android, that friendship is obviously not what it used to be. Add to that the higher costs that Apple most likely has to pay, and they’ve been looking for an alternative. While there still isn’t a confirmation that iOS 6 will not include Google Maps, several things indicate that this will be the case, including the fact that Apple already switched to Open Street Maps in other products. So this week, Google attempted to make their maps more interesting with a series of announcements, including the addition of more 3D features, their street view function being extended to parks and other remote locations, and the ability to take maps offline on a device.

All of these are clearly useful functions, and there’s no doubt that Android users will benefit from them. But the question, will a few new functions be enough for Apple to overlook their current issues with Google and keep including Google Maps? That’s fairly unlikely. For users however, this may mean that any further iPhone won’t have Google Maps, and so they will end up missing out on these features. Perhaps Google will make the maps into a normal app that iPhone users can download. At least we would have that.

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