Apple Ditched Google Maps Over Voice-Guided Directions

Apple Ditched Google Maps Over Voice-Guided Directions
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Disagreements over Google’s voice guided navigation pushed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) away from Google maps, and compelled it to implement its own mapping application in the iOS 6, according to the report of John Paczkowski of Allthingsd.

Apple Ditched Google Maps Over Voice-Guided Directions

According to multiple sources knowledgeable about the issue, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) failed to convince and sign a deal with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to bring the voice guided turn-by-turn navigation to the iOS 6. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) felt that it was been left behind without the voice guided navigation because it is a free and special feature of the Google maps, which has been integrated to all smartphones powered by the Android operating system.

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Paczkowski wrote, “Requiring iPhone users to look directly at handsets for directions and manually move through each step — while Android users enjoyed native voice-guided instructions — put Apple at a clear disadvantage in the mobile space. And having chosen Google as its original mapping partner, the iPhone maker was now in a position where an archrival was calling the shots on functionality important to the iOS maps feature set.”

The report cited that it was difficult for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to just simply handover the special feature of the Google maps to its competitor because the search engine giant invested heavily in developing the data and views of the application. Sources said, Apple really wanted the voice guided turn-by-turn-directions of the Google maps integrated in the iOS 6, but wasn’t willing to give in to the demands of the search engine giant.

According to sources, Google wanted an in-app branding and to add its Google latitude service in the iOS mapping service, but Apple refused to accept either of the demands. It is a fact that the relationship of the two technology giants has become highly competitive over the years, and the strife over the key feature of the Google maps became the biggest deal breaker.

Apple’s acquisition of several mapping companies including Poly9, C3 technologies and Placebase gave it the confidence to develop company’s own mapping app with 3-D mode and decided to abandon Google maps a year earlier of the expiration of its agreement with Google.

As expected, Apple released its own mapping application with the iOS 6 on the iPhone 5 this September. However, consumers were not happy with the mapping solutions. Apple received massive criticisms from consumers, competitors and technology bloggers and reviewers. Gizmodo, a popular review site described Apple’s mapping app an “apocalyptic horror show” due to lack of design, details, distorted images, and it does not provide correct directions. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) accepted all the criticisms and informed users that it is working hard to resolve the issues and improve the technology.

A source familiar with Apple’s strategy on the issue expressed his opinion to Allthingsd. He said, “Apple knew it had a lot of catching up to do in maps. But, given what’s happened the past few days, I think they felt they were farther along than they actually are.”

Mike Dobson, president of map consulting firm Telemapics said Apple’s maps app can be fixed, and its biggest problem is the quality of data available in the application. According to him, the Cupertino-based company needs to hire professional cartographers to resolve its problems. He said, “There is no really quick fix for Apple’s problems in this area, but this should not be news to anyone who is familiar with mapping and the large-scale integration of data that have a spatial component. Of course, there appears nowhere to go but up for Apple in mapping.”

Previously, we reported that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reached out and offered jobs to former Google maps staff members to help improve its maps app. The employees contacted by the iPhone maker were seriously considering the offer.

A related report cited that Google is currently developing a map service for Apple, which will be ready by the end of 2012. However, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt denied the reports and pointed out the company is not making any map service for the iPhone.

Based on the result of the Apple’s iOS 6 Maps, Google clearly won the disagreement against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). At present, the Google maps is undeniably better than  the iOS 6 Maps. Many will agree with the search engine giants’ statement as the company touted, “We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”

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