March 2, 2015

3 Alternatives to Google Maps: Are They Worth a Look?

By Lauren C.

Google Maps’ reputation as the number one place for local business optimization has overshadowed all its competitors. However, much of Google’s success stems from their willingness to take an honest look at their competition and never growing complacent with their own success.

So let’s help Google out by taking a look at the alternatives to Google Maps and see if there’s anything they should be worried about in the near future. 

1. Bing Maps. The good news for Bing Maps is that it’s probably the most similar to Google Maps. Bing Maps has many of the same search abilities for local businesses that Google Maps has, with a design of blue dots marking the local search results according to specific queries. Bing Maps’ pros include a great bird’s eye view, and the Streetside feature, which is comparable to Google Maps’ Streetview. On the downside, they don’t include bicycle routes. Sorry, cyclists.

2. Yahoo Maps. Launched in 2007, Yahoo Maps is holding its own weight, but still struggles to compete with Google Maps. In 2013, Yahoo added several new features which included pedestrian and public transit routing, improved aerial images, and a fresh new redesign similar to Google Maps’ layout. Unlike Google Maps, Yahoo Maps still has the “search nearby” feature to see which local businesses are close to certain search queries. As for cons, Google Maps still has more directory listings in other parts of the world than Yahoo, and Yahoo Maps is supported by less browsers. Yahoo Maps is also not integrated with GPS, which is a huge downside.

3. Apple Maps. When Apple Maps launched in 2012, it was disastrous. In fact, the Apple Maps app was so poorly executed that CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology shortly after the launch. Since then, Apple Maps has steadily improved and now includes information about local businesses, such as their operating hours, address, and phone number. Apple Maps’ biggest plus is that it is loaded on iPhones by default. Unfortunately, Apple Maps still lacks public transportation directions, nor do they have live traffic information.

Google Maps: Not Perfect, But Still the Best for Businesses

So what is it about Google Maps that allows it to take the lead in the map app race? Like everyone else, they aren’t perfect. Although Maps is available for Android and Apple devices, Google Maps doesn’t always work on Apple devices. Furthermore, the reception of the February 2014 desktop version of Google Maps was viewed by some critics as rocky, at best.

Yet there are a few reasons why Google Maps has a hold over the competition. As the number one search engine, Google offers its Maps app a huge advantage through namesake, alone. Secondly, the design of Google Maps is cleaner and crisper in comparison to others. Thirdly, Google is known to consistently innovate and use new gadgets and apps to provide a better user experience. All things considered, Google Maps remains the best option for local businesses to optimize their online presence.

Do you use Google Maps or other map technology? Why do you think Google Maps is dominating the competition? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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