Apple Maps - How Google Isn’t a Winner After All

When Apple first introduced Apple Maps in September 2012, they had been given a severe roasting for their shortcomings. But, despite all the issues associated with them, it seems that they have turned out to be an absolute success amongst the iPhone and iPad users in the US. In comparison, Google has ended up losing about 23 million users in the US simply because of the popularity of Apple Maps. Google Maps were kicked off the iPhone after they had refused to grant Apple access to the voice driven turn-by-turn map navigation feature. In comparison to the 81 million Google Maps users that the company had in September last year at its peak, this seems to be a very severe loss.

These figures were obtained by a market research company called ComScore that used the information collected by regular polls taken from thousands of users. A furor had been caused in September 2012 when Apple Inc. introduced its own maps along with its iOS 6 software as it had come to light that the application was simply littered with errors. Paddington Station seemed to have vanished, a place in Ireland called ‘Airfield’ was being shown as the airport and the Helsinki railway station had been turned into a park.

The mistakes were of such extent that Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple Inc. had been forced to make a public apology for the massacre. However, a year later, Apple maps were used by about 35 million iPhone users in the US as compared to a total of 58.7 million users of Google Apps across all Android devices. Of these numbers, about 6 million users used Google Maps while using the iPhone, which includes about 2 million users who don’t wish to or cannot upgrade to the iOS 6. This data indicates that little traction has been gained by Google’s efforts to provide a stand-alone application.

According to analysts, this is a serious blow for Google Inc. as it has lost a crucial data channel in the North American market. On the other hand, Apple had remained adamant that it wouldn’t give up on its own application. For both Apple and Google, map data is extremely valuable because they have to monitor traffic flows for identifying the location of the users and providing information regarding traffic jams. Google also provides advertising related to location through its search and maps, which is a very important source of income for the company.

Since August, the company has been pushing advertisements onto its map applications quite aggressively. The growth in map users is very important for Apple as well because it can boost its own traffic this way and other data that’s related to the phone signal strength. However, as far as location based advertising is concerned, Apple is a relative minnow and is focused, for now, to use the data for providing forecasts and directions to drivers. Apple had started working on its own maps in 2009, when Google had denied providing the voice driven feature on the iPhone although it was offered on Android devices.