Welcome Back, Google Maps


In this season of giving, it's hard to resist. So, go ahead, Google. I give. Take whatever you want -- where I am, where I plan to go, who my friends are, what I like to do. Heck, I'll even add more and willingly share feedback on road closures and detours.

Google Maps are back in Apple's App Store, baby -- and back on the iPhone and iPad, where they belong. And I couldn't be happier.

You may recall the outrage that Apple generated in September when it ditched Google as its default map app in the iOS 6 release. (See: Apple's Map Data Is Big, but Not So Sweet.) Apple's map app had some serious problems, as well as what some described as hilariously awkward satellite photography.

One of the big complaints, aside from the fact that many of the directions it provided were just plain wrong, was the app's lack of public transit information. And just two days ago, Australian police warned the dubious app could actually be "life threatening." The app directed motorists heading to Mildura, Australia, into the middle of a national park instead. Several motorists had to be rescued from the park, which police say has no water supply and where temperatures can reach 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

And you wonder why I'm happy to have Google Maps back?

Google's native Google Maps app arrived in the Apple App store late Wednesday night. It's even better than ever, with additions like turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation. In a Google blog post on the Google Maps for iOS launch, the company states:

People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we're pleased to announce that Google Maps is here -- rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store. It's designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you're looking for faster and easier.

Someone is getting the last laugh here -- and it's not Apple.

I downloaded the Google Maps app within hours of its return, and I happily displayed it to my family over breakfast yesterday. I don't care if some of Google's uses of its map information have been described as creepy. Blame it on Google's use of mobility-enabled contextualized data. Ed Parsons, a geospatial technologist at Google, explained to us this year that such data lends a predictive potential and the promise that no two maps will be alike.

Yesterday, Google Maps project manager Kai Hansen told the BBC, "Google Maps, as much as any other map application, lives from the data that we receive."

OK. I get it. It's Big Brother-ish. The folks at Google are data thieves, intent on stealing everything and paying for nothing. But at least I'll know what train to catch home.

Noreen Seebacher,

Noreen Seebacher, the Community Editor of Investor Uprising, has been a business journalist for more than 20 years. A New York City based writer and editor, she has worked for numerous print and online publications. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the New York Post, New York’s Daily News, The Detroit News, and the Pittsburgh Press. She co-edited five newsletters for Real Estate Media’s GlobeSt.com and served as the site's technology editor.

She also championed the commercial real estate beat at The Journal News, a Gannett publication in suburban New York City, and co-founded a Website focused on personal finance. Through her own company, Stasa Media, Noreen has produced reports, whitepapers, and internal publications for a number of Fortune 500 clients. When she's not writing, editing, or Web surfing, she relaxes in an 1875 Victorian with her husband and their five kids, four formerly homeless cats, and a dog.

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If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It
  • 12/28/2012 6:27:17 AM
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Apple may be learning to just let well enough alone. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Google maps are the most popular, so why play with success? The Apple way of doing things 'it's' way just didn't work for the map fiasco. Here's a perfect place to just keep things simple and let Apple fans use Google stuff.

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/24/2012 12:39:51 AM
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Lyndon,

'Garmine would go nuts, telling us she was "recalculating" with a very urgent and troubled tone whenever we strayed from her directions...'

Odd and amazing that they are able to give these tools humanlike characteristics! I suppose it provides the familiar and puts you in your comfort zone.

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/23/2012 11:33:18 PM
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..

In her blog article, Noreen writes


. It's Big Brother-ish. The folks at Google are data thieves, intent on stealing everything and paying for nothing. But at least I'll know what train to catch home.


 

Certainly, Google's mapping services are a superb resource ... but I am apprehensive about my Web activity being tracked by Google.  I think I'd be apprehensive out the gazoo if I were wandering around with my hypothetical future I-phone with Google maps, and I became aware that the system was tracking my whereabouts ...

 

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/23/2012 11:21:07 PM
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..

Rbaz writes


... the voice guided navigation is not only fun but adds an element of safety. I have to fight tendencie to talk back to it like I would a person navigator.


 

Used a Garmin GPS in the rental car a colleague and I drove to Charlotte, NC (from Texas, in the dead of winter) nearly 2 years ago.  It had a female voice, so we named "her" Garmine.  Guess you could call that anthropomorphorobotism or something...

Garmine would go nuts, telling us she was "recalculating" with a very urgent and troubled tone whenever we strayed from her directions...

 

 

driving growth
  • 12/23/2012 7:24:39 PM
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Data has shown that the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 has increased the platforms popularity among iPhone users.

It's no secret that Apple fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of their favorite navigation app, and now statistics prove that Google Maps has increased the popularity of iOS 6.

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/22/2012 12:21:29 PM
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@ Broadway

That reminds me of an instance where despite having a fair (but not accurate) idea of where my destination was, I relied on google maps to navigate that for me. It took me 15 minutes more to reach there due to inaccurate road descriptions and I realized that I would have avoided that if I used my sense of direction in the first place. Nonetheless, google maps and other navigation applications (esp Sygic) have helped me enormously to find places.

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/19/2012 10:49:50 PM
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with fuel cost being what they are, that can be a costly adventure. so no or incorrect map can cost you dearly.

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/19/2012 10:37:03 PM
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I think some holes in our mobile map services is great ... forces us to maintain some of our old skills of getting unlost. I used to prize my ability to get myself miserably lost and then somehow find my way, either on foot or driving (and without stopping for directions).

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/19/2012 6:13:06 PM
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WaqasAltaf, users expectations are set very high for Google and that can be detrimental. best to exceed expectations than fall short.in my opinion one of the most effective marketing slogan was AVIS rent a car, 'we try harder'. work to foster reasonable expectations .

Re: Happy driving if not perfect driving
  • 12/19/2012 11:23:14 AM
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@ rbaz

I second your thought that it ain't an easy task to accurately map each and every road and direction. Also, with constant modifications and developments being undertaken by road management authorities, it is next to impossible to always remain updated. However, that doesn't exempt Google from trying to fulfill users' expectations.

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