Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook might have issued a heartfelt apology for the subpar new Maps app, but look on the bright side: Apple’s vector graphics-based app is actually up to five times more data efficient than Google’s (GOOG) raster graphics-based iOS Maps app, according to a new analysis from Onavo. By using vector graphics, Apple’s Maps app doesn’t need to re-download map images every time a user adjusts the view leading to less data consumption. More →
As if Google (GOOG) needed to do anything more to show that its Maps application runs circles around Apple’s (AAPL), the company on Wednesday unveiled a new Maps feature that incorporates underwater panorama shots of several coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The new underwater Maps pictures were shot with the help of the Catlin Seaview Survey, a scientific project dedicated to studying coral reefs and bringing the public “unprecedented accessibility to our oceans through ‘virtual diving.’” A video of Google’s underwater Maps project is posted below. More →
By now everyone knows about the glaring flaws in Apple’s (AAPL) homemade maps application. The question, then, is why did Apple decide to launch its own maps app when it still had access to Google (GOOG) Maps for at least another year? Unnamed sources have told AllThingsD that Apple was royally ticked off that Google was holding back on implementing turn-by-turn navigation in the iOS version of Google Maps, especially since the Android version of the app has had that feature for years now. Google’s reasoning for holding out on turn-by-turn navigation? According to AllThingsD, Google felt it had invested lots of money into the technology over the years and didn’t want to hand it over to a rival software platform. Needless to say, this adds an interesting wrinkle into the ongoing Apple Maps soap opera. More →
It was previously believed by some that Apple’s (AAPL) decision to replace Google’s (GOOG) detailed Maps app with its own inferior mapping solution was because of an expired contract. But according to The Verge, the search giant still had an entire year left to provide Apple’s iOS devices with Google Maps. Apple simply decided to pull the plug early because it felt Google Maps on iOS was not on par with Google Maps on Android according to the report, which has features such as turn-by-turn navigation. Contrary to Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s insistence that the company doesn’t have any Google Maps app in its wings, The New York Times reports that Google is scrambling to release a standalone Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad by the end of the year. Apple is also reportedly hiring ex-Google Maps employees to beef up its own iOS 6 Maps app.
Former Google (GOOG) CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday confirmed to Reuters that the Internet giant has made no move to provide Google Maps app for the iPhone 5 or iOS 6. “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?” Schmidt said to a small group of reporters in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.” Apple (AAPL) dropped Google Maps from its latest operating system in favor of its own in-house program, however the Cupertino-based company has seen a tremendous amount of user backlash. Schmidt revealed that Google and Apple were in constant communication “at all kinds of levels,” although he noted that any decision to allow a Google Maps application in the App Store would have to be made by Apple. “We have not done anything yet,” he said.
The Maps application in iOS 6 is disappointing to say the least, and while Apple (AAPL) may be on a hiring spree to fix the problem, one iOS hacker has taken matters into his own hands. Ryan Petrich on Sunday posted a video that demonstrates the original Google Maps program from iOS 5 running on iOS 6. Petrich revealed that he would like to release the hack to the public, however it is not yet stable enough to do so. As expected, it is required that users have a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 6 for the port to be successful. A video of Google Maps running on iOS 6 follows below. More →
Yes, it should be easy for Apple (AAPL) to one day match Google’s (GOOG) prowess for creating a top-notch maps application: All it has to do is hire another 7,000 people. Business Insider reports that Google has roughly 7,100 people who are working on its maps application, including 1,100 full-time employees and 6,000 contractors who combine to work as “street view drivers, people flying planes, people drawing maps, people correcting listings, and people building new products.” As BI notes, Apple has only 13,000 non-retail employees in total, so it’s really not fair to compare its maps application with an app that’s designed and maintained by a small army. More →
During its “next dimension” press conference on Wednesday, Google announced a host of new features and improvements for its Google Maps service. The Mountain View-based company revealed a brand new 3D mapping feature for Google Earth that utilizes imagery captured by special airplanes equipped with Street View-like 3D cameras to create a virtual fly over of select locations. This feature, which will be completed in metro areas first, allows users to circle around locations, rendering everything in 3D. Google also revealed a new “Tour Guide” feature, which lets users discover new locations through its Earth service. The enhanced 3D maps will be coming to both Android and iOS devices in the future, as will an offline mode of Google Maps for Android. The announcement comes only days before Apple is rumored to debut its own 3D maps service at its WWDC on June 11th. A video demonstration follows below. More →
Google on Friday sent out press invites for a Maps event in San Francisco next week. The event will be hosted by Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Google Earth, who will give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the “next dimension” of the company’s Map service, hinting at a new 3D mapping feature. Apple is reportedly planning to drop Google Maps from its devices and as BGR exclusively reported earlier this week, is expected to debut its own 3D maps service at its WWDC on June 11th. Google’s event is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. PST on June 6th.
Apple has been using Google Maps since it launched the iPhone in 2007. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt even joined Steve Jobs on the stage during the handset’s announcement. The two companies’ relationship has dwindled, however, with the success of Google’s own Android mobile operating system that competes directly with the iPhone. A new report from 9To5Mac suggests that the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will feature an in-house maps application, ending the Cupertino-based company’s reliance on Google Maps. According to the website’s anonymous sources, the application is said to be similar to iOS’s current Google Maps program, however it was described as both cleaner and faster, and will deliver a more reliable experience and an enhanced 3D mode. Apple’s in-house service will reportedly be based on mapping technology it acquired from purchasing Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9. More →
Google Maps has been updated to allow users to access new “photo tours” within the service. The feature uses contributed photos from around the world that are stitched together to give a 3D photo scene of a popular location. Photo tours are available for more than 15,000 popular sites around the world and can be initiated through Google Maps in two ways. “First, when you search for a place, such as Trevi Fountain, the results in the left panel will indicate if there is a photo tour available: click either the thumbnail image or the link to start the tour,” Google wrote on its blog. “Alternatively, if you’re browsing the map and click on the label for a particular landmark, the info window that appears will indicate if a photo tour is available.” The tours require Google Maps with WebGL and are available now. A photo tour demonstration follows below. More →
Most online April Fool’s jokes are, to put it as kindly as possible, awful. Of all the companies that try to put creative “pranks” together, however, Google is among the best at managing April Fool’s stunts that are geeky enough to be laughed at in a good way rather than an uncomfortable, “I can’t believe someone thought this would be clever” way. This year, Google cooked up a creative new feature for Google Maps that lets users tour America with 8-bit graphics that will make any NES fan shed a nostalgic tear. As an added bonus, the Zelda-like U.S. landscape in this new version of Maps transforms into an 8-bit Street View when the user zooms in all the way. A link to Google’s 8-bit America follows below along with a screenshot of Street View. More →
According to legal documents for its upcoming hearing with Oracle, between 2008 and 2011 Android generated less than $550 million in revenue for Google. Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, which use Google Maps and search, generated more than four times as much revenue for the Mountain View-based company during the same time frame, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Roughly 100 million Android devices have been activated since the end of 2011, with an average of 850,000 devices activated each day, suggesting that Google pulls in slightly more than $10 per Android handset each year. Google CEO Larry Page said during an earnings call in October that the company was “seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5 billion.” Page’s comments indicate that a large sum of Google’s mobile revenue comes from services outside of its Android ecosystem. Since the release of the iPhone, Google has had a deal with Apple to offer its Maps and search services on the popular handset, which may contribute largely to the company’s $2.5 billion in mobile revenue. More →