Google’s dominance of online maps may be challenged, writes Jules Gray
For years the go to place for online mapping services, Google Maps has seen its dominance challenged by the emergence of rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing and a rumoured new service from Apple.
In order to ward off the competition, Google yesterday announced a number of major upgrades to Maps, stealing a march on Apple’s announcement next Tuesday.
They plan to add new 3D imaging to the service, as well as offline maps for mobile devices using their Android operating system.
Google claims to have 75 percent of the online mapping market, with approximately a billion users, many of which are from mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone.
Searches on Maps provide Google with useful information about users preferences, allowing them to offer paid advertisements from local businesses.
However, Apple is widely expected to announce its own service next week, replacing Google as the default map application on all its iOS devices after five years of partnership.
This follows their acquisition of rival service Placebase in 2009, which is believed to drive the underlying technology of the new application.
Apple’s service is expected to include similar 3D mapping, as well as smoother integration with their iOS operating system.
In order to differentiate their offerings, it is thought that Google might restrict some of their updates to iOS devices, potentially driving users to their Android platform.
Speaking at the launch event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google Maps Vice President Brian McClendon maintained that they will continue to offer Maps on Apple devices, and were “working very hard” to bring offline Maps to iOS devices.