Apple’s move to allow Google Maps app to be available in its App Store on Thursday is a good indication that the company wants its customers not be lost again. However, it’s also a constant reminder now that a lot of work needs to be done in improving its own maps service to be able to compete with its rival.
The recent move put to rest the many conspiracy theories that abound following the Cupertino-giant’s decision to stop using Google’s mapping service on its iOS mobile products. The intention of Apple to own an ever increasing critical feature like the mapping service feature in its devices led to an unusual public embarrassment for the company when its own product failed miserably.
Analysts are wondering whether Google will continue to create an app for the iPhone or if Apple will decide to eventually keep a mapping service that many people rely on from its devices. If Apple chooses so, any strategic fallout for the popular iPhone could benefit Google, at least in theory, as it can make its own Android mobile operating system that would include Google Maps that would be more attractive to customers.
Still some analysts are wondering if Apple would eventually approve a distribution of Google mapping service app in the Apple App Store or refuse it, like the other Google apps, to help the development of its Apple Maps.
All these speculations are over now. Google’s aim was never to undermine Apple’s product, it appears, as it continues to make high-quality map app for the iPhone. Google’s move puts it in a more favorable position to get the biggest possible users for its maps. “They’re more interested in owning the relationship with customers in any way they can,” analyst at Gartner, Carolina Milanesi, said.
Consultant on strategy, mergers and acquisitions in the maps and location services fields, Marc Prioleau, said that allowing Google Maps app in iOS devices does not make the task of Apple in making a better mapping service, a long process that could take years to complete.
“I don’t think it helps them, except in the sense that the iPhone stops having the thorn in its side of lacking the best mobile map app out there,” Prioleau said. “The fact that it’s Google means they’re back to the same position.”
There is no telling how much Apple has improved its maps due to the sheer volume of data contained in the app itself after the release, said Prioleau.
The expectation from users is very high though. “You can get 98 percent of stuff on maps right, and people who use it will remember the 2 percent you got wrong until they die,” Prioleau added.
Carolina Milanesi said that the drawback after the poor showing of Apple Maps did not result to poor sales of Apple’s products as customers are willing to overlook the limitations of maps even in the past. For example, when Apple decided to use Google Maps service on its iPhones, the service lacked a turn-by-turn navigation, a popular feature available on competitors mobiles as well as on Google’s.
Google is often at the receiving end for criticisms from reviewers due to supposedly inferior products and software if compared to Apple’s. But the poor performance of Apple Maps shows that Google has the edge in some Internet services. Google has a significant lead in terms of map making over Apple. It also has a bigger number of employees working on correcting errors in the app, a move critical for businesses and other points of interest.
After Apple Maps was released, a flood of iPhone users began complaining about misplaced landmarks, wrong addresses, and a myriad of other problems. The fiasco led to a public apology for CEO Tim Cook, to the extent that he even suggested to users to use a rival app.
Earlier during the week, a local police force in Australia issued a warning not to use Apple Maps when travelling cross-country following several incidents of motorists becoming lost in an inland national park. Apple has reportedly corrected the problem on its Australian map, while the local police also issues a separate warning about incorrect directions from Google Maps.