One of the most highlighting new feature in Apple’s iOS 6 release is their brand new maps application. A few months ago when Apple demoed their almost final build of maps I thought that this could really be a game changer and destroy the dominance of Google Maps forever. Sadly, I was wrong. As soon as I downloaded iOS 6 my first mission was to test the new maps application and see how it performs. I was surprised to see the low resolution satellite pictures of India. I live in a city called Kolkata and there is a famous cricket stadium called Eden Gardens. When I visited that place using Apple maps I could see the pixelated images of the stadium under construction. Now, I live in my city to know that this image is clearly 9-10 months old. Over the last couple of months we had some major bridges constructed in several parts of our city. Forget about their names, the satellite images still shows the bridges half completed.
On the other hand, when you change to the view to standard mode, I can guarantee you that 90 percent of the locations, landmarks, restaurants etc. are completely missing. I am not talking about a small town in a remote location; this is one of the 4 metropolitan cities in the second most populated country in the world.
Another severe lack with Apple maps is that there is virtually no direction system integrated in India. All you see is a bunch of apps that the company recommends to download in order to get directions from point A to B.
No Flyover for Taj Mahal
Flyover was one of the most hyped feature inside Apple maps and I cannot believe my eyes that Taj Mahal (which is considered as one of the 7 wonders of the world is missing it) whereas you can see the 3D view in places that are less significant in terms of history.
So, how does Google Maps Stack Up?
I have used Google maps for quite some time now and honestly most of the improvements under the Indian canopy happened in the last 12-18 months. Suddenly, maps became deadly accurate and it seems that no place was unnoticed. There is a famous area called Park Steet where Google maps shows each and every restaurant, bar etc. out there. One thing which neither Google nor Apple is providing right now is traffic updates so there is no point in going into comparisons.
Google maps also does an awesome job (simple cruses the other competitor) when it comes to directions. I think everyone will agree that the direction system in Google Maps is so accurate that it always helps when you need them the most.
Ways Apple can improve their Maps in India
I am not a rocket scientist but I would love to suggest some of the methods with which Apple can hope to compete evenly with Google maps:
- Get Satellite Pictures that are no more than 3 months old.
- Allow people to submit their business listing.
- Just like they did with Yelp in USA, Apple should concentrate to tie up with JustDial.com if they want to showcase business and workplaces in India
Although Apple had a year’s contract left with Google for their mapping services they choose to introduce their very own software. This is one company that is known to make things perfect and I think it’s the first time we have seen Apple do things that are horribly wrong. You have to understand that in order to make a great map you need to have the power and the backbone of the internet. With millions of users Google has refined their technology over the last couple of years to make things more accurate. Although Apple is new to this market I firmly believe that they will catch up, I mean they need to.