I’ll make this as quick as painless as possible for all you Apple fans out there hoping that one day they’ll get their mapping act together. While they continue to be one of the most innovative companies on earth, Apple can’t touch Google Maps for some very clear reasons.
Here they are: Search Users, Street View, Android, Lack of Web Presence.
When myself and the majority of internet users conduct a search, we Google it. We do not Apple it or pear it. When we find what we’re looking on Google, we naturally need to get there in the real world. So what do we do next? You guessed it, we get directions on Google Maps. Google is a one stop shop, and frankly, the majority of people are familiar and comfortable with what they offer.
In addition to finding what we’re looking for, we can see it via a variety of ways through Google Maps or Google Earth. We can also take a walk up the block using Street View to see exactly where we’re going. In addition, with Google’s latest technological wonder – we can even walk into business Locations. I discovered this on my last trip to New York City during my stay at the Conrad hotel. They’ve got what they call “ Google Trusted Photographers” running around New York shooting virtual tours of business interiors.
Enough on Search Users and Street View. Next big TKO for Apple Maps – the Android OS. Android has steadily been gaining market share over Apple, and while Google may not be making money on the hardware – they are attracting the largest user base. Back when newspapers and magazines were a real business, a large audience (readership) meant more advertising dollars. Audience size is paramount for many reasons that I will not go into here.
My last point is that Apple has a very intentional lack of web presence regarding their mapping product. There is no Apple Maps website. If a user does not own an Apple product, Apple does not want that user to have access. While this exclusivity and elite status club worked for Apple in the past, times are changing. Business practices need to evolve. Apple should not sacrifice innovation and premium product design, but maybe it’s time to let more people into the club.
The good news for Apple is that where lies a challenge also lies a big opportunity. Is Google Maps perfect? Far from it. GMaps could use a lot of improvement and I have one quick example. Being thrilled by the ability to walk around inside the Conrad hotel — I tried to do a search on Google Maps for businesses with the new virtual tours I mentioned above. I was very disappointed. Do you think Google has a way to filter the search results to only include locations which have these Street View-style interior tours? No, of course not. That type of search seems like common sense for a company in the search engine business. But did they add it? No. That’s just one small sample. There are plenty of items that could use improvement, but Google would have to send me a check if they want any further advice.
What would I do if I were Apple, you ask? I’d get into the search engine business. I’d work very hard to have people Apple it instead of Google it. Although the majority of us are used to searching on Google, we could sure use something innovative, new, and refreshing. I personally am bored with Google. Apple, give us something Applesque – simple and clean, and with an elephant load of thought and engineering behind it. Bing. What’s Bing? No, not like Bing. A game changer, something completely new that will alter the way people search and think about searching.
A good number of people will think I’m insane for even suggesting an Apple search engine. So what else can Apple do besides go head to head with Google Search and alter the internet world?
Put Apple Maps online (fix it first) – and make it accessible from any desktop or laptop. Next – how about an Apple Maps App for Android? Sacriledge! Google Maps is on IOS – get onto those numerous Android devices and bring a little Apple into the lives of all us poor, IOS lacking, Googling masses.
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