Google Maps for iPhone is getting its first major update today. In version 1.1, users can now search for any address stored in their Google contacts list. In addition, tapping inside the search bar brings up the option for finding nearby places in 13 different categories (e.g., restaurants, hotels, gas stations). Google is also rolling out the app to seven new countries, including Egypt, Lebanon and Bahrain. Google Maps for iPhone launched in December and was quickly downloaded by iPhone users frustrated with the poor Apple Maps experience.
“I have been fascinated with all the bluster and vitriol thrown at Apple since they tossed Google Maps in favor of their own Map app without these detractors trying to get to the bottom of why Apple made this move,” Tim Bajarin writes for TechPinions.
“Contrary to many peoples thinking, the move was not to punish Google in any way. Rather, the decision was a very pragmatic one that in the end will be good for Apple and really good for their customers,” Bajarin writes. “One key reason for Apple dumping Google Maps is that Apple wanted turn-by-turn directions and for obvious reasons, Google did not want to license this feature to Apple because it gave them a competitive advantage over Apple.”
Bajarin writes, “However there is an even more important reason Apple took this action… At the heart of Siri lies a rich database of content that Siri can draw from to give users the answers to the questions they ask. However, when Apple introduced it they never even uttered the word ‘database’ in explaining how it works. What they did say is that Siri was in its early stages of learning and over time, as people use Siri, it would get smarter. It was almost positioned as a beta release.”
MacDailyNews Take: Siri wasn’t just “almost positioned” by Apple as a beta release, it was clearly labeled as such.
Bajarin writes, “At the iPhone launch, Apple probably should have stated, as they did with Siri, that this new map app is a work in progress and more like a beta. That would have at least tempered the criticism to a point. But by praising it and then people finding a lot of inaccuracies, it comes off as a wounded product instead of what it really is; a mapping database that will become more accurate over time… Apple’s decision to jettison Google Maps was not an emotional one. Indeed, the decision was done to make sure they owned their customers data and did not give Google any help with Android. And as iOS users give Apple feedback on map data and accuracy, a very rich mapping database will emerge that could be even better than what Google offers today.”
Much more in the full article – recommended (note that where Bajarin writes “60,000,” he likely means “60 million”) – here.