June 10, 2015

Worldwide Developers Conference: Juicy Updates for Map Enthusiasts

A smartphone and tablet with displays of search engine results and a digital mapping platform.
Photo Courtesy of Techlicious.com
By Lauren C.

The Google vs. Apple battle is heating up. The ongoing, passive aggressive war between these two giants has been analyzed many times by the Tek team, but every week there seems to be a new, juicy update that adds to the drama.

At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 8th, Apple introduced some brand new developments as part of their iOS 9 Apple Maps upgrade. Some of these include:

1. Changes to local search. Apple improved local search capabilities by offering more personalized content and search results. For example, users can now search for nearby businesses by categories or names. Apple executive Craig Federighi stated that the new updates would “enhance how you use your device but without compromising your privacy.” Some see this as a direct swipe at Google, who has been known to walk a fine line with consumer privacy.

2. Public transit information. Public transit information will be expanded to other areas outside of the U.S., including more than 300 Chinese cities. It’s clear from this addition that Apple sees China as one of its most valuable international partners, and understands the importance of accommodating iPhone users there. China is also one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.

3. Apple Pay expands. Apple Pay is a way for customers to use their iPhone, Apple Watch, or other Apple devices to pay for online services at specific businesses. In Apple’s recent update, business profile pages will feature whether or not Apple Pay is accepted by said business. This is a great way for Apple to promote Apple Pay.

Apple executive Craig Federighi explained that the new updates to Apple Maps were created for two specific reasons. First, there are 5 billion map user requests per week, and Apple has to accommodate its ever growing user base. Secondly, Apple Maps is slowly catching up in popularity to Google Maps, according to this executive.

Meanwhile, Google Sits Back

Google can relax, for now. After all, the updates that Apple introduced, such as the addition of public transit information, have been used by Google Maps for years. Will Apple Maps provide a more viable alternative to Google Maps? Apple has a monopoly with its own Apple products, which happen to be very popular at the moment-and have been for a long time. Because of this, they have the freedom to experiment with their devices without worrying too much about the consequences.

Unfortunately for Apple, other companies such as Samsung are rapidly gaining ground. In fact, just recently, Samsung was ranked as the largest tech company-even bigger than Apple. Perhaps Google is banking on the fact that throughout history, the popularity of certain gadgets and gizmos rise and fall with changing times and consistent competition.

Similarly, Google must be aware that they may not be the number one search engine forever. This might explain why Google continues to pursue other exciting endeavors, such as the self-driving car, Google Cardboard, and their promotion of important business applications. And certainly, they will continue to add new features and updates to Google Maps in order to keep up with their competition.

What do you think about Apple Map’s new updates? Should Google be concerned? Let us know in your comments!

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