Apple Maps now dominates Google Maps on iOS devices

It’s hard to think of too many Apple-related bombs bigger than Apple Maps, the disastrous mapping service introduced in 2012, which resulted in widespread ridicule, at least one major executive leaving the company, and Tim Cook himself recommending that customers use rival services. But just a few years later a new report suggests that Apple Maps […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Apple Maps Now Used Three Times More Than Google Maps on iPhone

When Apple Maps first debuted alongside iOS 6, it drew significant criticism for its inaccuracies in mapping data, errors when locating points of interest, lack of transit information and odd 3D mapping imagery. Many users opted not to upgrade to iOS 6 due to the app’s flaws, and iOS 6 adoption jumped 29 percent once Google released a native Maps app for Apple’s platform. Three years later, Apple tells the Associated Press that Apple Maps is now used three times more than Google Maps on iPhone.

Apple says its mapping service is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor on iPhones and iPads, with more than 5 billion map-related requests each week. Research firm comScore says Apple has a modest lead over Google on iPhones in the U.S., though comScore measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often.

While a lot of the usage gains for Apple Maps can be attributed to Apple Maps being a built-in app that’s the default mapping solution for features like Siri and Mail and third-party apps like Yelp, the AP notes that many users who once spurned by Apple Maps have returned. Additionally, many new iPhone users did not experience the troubles of Apple Maps, instead using the newer, more improved version.

Although Apple now holds the lead in mapping on iOS, Google still dominates among all U.S. smartphone owners, with Google Maps having two times more users than Apple Maps. However, much of this is attributed to Apple Maps only being available on iOS while Google Maps is available on both Android and iOS.

In recent years, Apple has made numerous efforts to improve its mapping service. Apple has purchased companies like GPS firm Coherent Navigation and mapping company Placeable in addition to expanding its in-house teams and making data-sharing deals with companies like Foursquare. The Cupertino company has also beefed up Apple Maps with a fleet of mapping vehicles capturing data and introducing new features like Transit directions and, in the future, indoor mapping.

In total, Apple now gets data „from more than 3,000 sources“ for business listings, traffic and more. For its new Transit features, Apple even sent out teams to map out subway entrances and signs.

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Google Maps for iOS Updated With Spoken Traffic Alerts

Google today updated its Google Maps app to version 4.12, adding spoken traffic alerts in navigation mode as well as the ability to easily add new or missing businesses from the app’s sidebar.

Spoken traffic alerts will tell users about traffic congestion and incidents on a user’s route. Additionally, users will get traffic descriptions summarizing traffic conditions before they set off on their journey. The feature is similar to Google-owned Waze’s notifications, which also verbally points out traffic congestion, incidents and the location of police in the area.

Google Maps is a universal app available for free in the App Store. [Direct Link]

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Rumour: Google might finally be bringing its apps to Windows

A rumour is now circulating that Google might, after giving Microsoft the cold shoulder all these years, be bringing its apps to the Windows platform, possibly at Microsoft’s October 6th event. Read more…

CarPlay Praised as Wider Rollout Begins, but Lacks Smarts of Google Maps and Google Now

Despite being announced just over two years ago, CarPlay is only now becoming a built-in option in select new 2015 and 2016 vehicles by Chevrolet, Honda, Volkswagen and other car manufacturers. The in-dash system enables drivers to use Siri for hands-free access to Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts and third-party apps such as Spotify, Rdio, iHeartRadio and MLB At Bat.

CarPlay touchscreen on dashboard of 2016 Corvette Stingray (Image: WSJ)
With CarPlay starting to become a feature car buyers will be considering, Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal has published a timely review of CarPlay after testing the dashboard software inside a 2016 Corvette Stingray on a New York City road trip between midtown Manhattan and Rockaway Beach in Queens. Overall, she offered praise for CarPlay, but noted the service „isn’t a complete joyride“ and lacks the useful functionality of some Google services.

Stern first noted a positive experience using Siri to control Apple Music and make requests:

But DJ Siri to the rescue! All week she has accurately taken my requests, playing them via Apple Music (but not Spotify or any other third-party apps). “Siri, Play ‘Little Red Corvette.’ ” “Siri, play me Madonna’s top songs.” “Siri, who sings this song?” She does it all—though I wouldn’t object if she were a tad faster.

She also gave high marks to CarPlay’s messaging capabilities and Siri’s accuracy at transcribing words:

Text-message integration is where CarPlay feels miles ahead of any competition from car makers or even Google. […] Siri was, surprisingly, better at helping me respond than Google’s built-in voice assistant. Siri accurately transcribed my words nearly every time. (She forgivably struggled a bit when I was driving with the roof down.)

On the contrary, Stern found Apple Maps to be inferior to Google Maps at providing routing based on traffic conditions:

When I got in the car to go to my friend’s baby naming, Apple Maps routed me through midtown Manhattan, showing a blissfully traffic-ignorant blue line all the way to the destination. Google Maps, however, knew that Park Avenue was closed. It routed me to the FDR Drive, on Manhattan’s east side. Ignoring Apple, and choosing Google’s route, I got there on time.

The review concluded that Apple’s services are „stuck in the slow lane“ compared to Google Maps and Google Now:

Siri also struggles when it comes to finding businesses. Sure, she can identify the closest gas stations, and she knows mega-retailers like Starbucks and Target. But when I told her to go to my favorite coffee shop in my New Jersey hometown, she found it… in Limerick, Ireland. Google knew what I was talking about right away.

Google Now might have even guessed I wanted to go there, even before I searched. Culling information from your email, calendar and Web searches, Google’s prediction-based assistant swings into action when you plug your Android phone into an Android Auto-equipped car. In addition to displaying core information like weather and reminders, it anticipates your next destination.

Nevertheless, Stern described CarPlay as the future of in-car technology and said that, if she were in the market for a car right now, she would add Apple’s in-car software to her want list. The full-length review is a worthwhile read and provides a side-by-side comparison of CarPlay’s maps, messaging, music, voice control and home screen features with Google’s rival in-dash system Android Auto.



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