September 28, 2015

Google Maps or Apple Maps: Is One Really Better Than The Other?

By Justin H.

A wise man once said, in life, you only get one shot to make a strong first impression. I think it was Socrates or Gandhi. Definitely one of the two.

You know what nobody ever tells you? How you also only get one chance at a strong second impression, as well.

In 2005, Google Maps burst onto the scene as a fancy mapping platform and cornered the market. It has long been a favorite of nearly everyone seeking directions or navigation, even becoming the world’s most popular smartphone app. Nowadays, Maps has expanded to Street View, self-driving cars, and real-time traffic updates.

Apple Maps showed up on in the app world as a clunky, less functional version of Google Maps. It was knocked for featuring poor functionality and not boasting the type of navigation ability that Google had. But then they got their second shot.

Apple Maps finally got their act together, as detailed previously here at Tek Shouts! Now that they have established some legitimacy, it begs the question – has Apple Maps caught up to Google Maps and established itself as the better option, or is it simply a matter of preference?

iOS 9 Isn’t Playing Around

Apple’s latest software update focused heavily on improving Apple Maps. Public transit directions are here at last, which is a bigger deal than one might think.
Next time someone tells you technology is making us antisocial, show them this photo!

Let’s hit you with some math. The number of smartphone users in the great United States of America has reached 160 million. Apple controls 42 percent of the smartphone market with the lovely iPhone. Apple also announced not long ago that Apple Maps is used 3.5 times more frequently than Google Maps.

Apple has definitely made its mark by incorporating transit directions. Even if those directions are only available in 11 cities, more are on the way.

Apple has incorporated turn-by-turn walking directions seamlessly into public-transit routes. We’ve all taken a subway to our destination, and upon arrival thought, “alright, now what?” With the new Apple Maps, that’s a non-issue since the app tells you exactly where to turn, whereas Google Maps will only tell you how far you need to walk.

It’s a nice little touch that will save lots of pedestrian aggravation!

Apple Maps (left) provides a more aesthetic transit map than Google (right)

Were the Apple Maps Changes Substantial Enough to Close the Gap?

While Apple Maps is undoubtedly better than it once was, people still frequently turn to Google Maps for turn-by-turn navigation in the car. I’m still one of those people, as I have not forgotten of a rather unfortunate adventure back in college where I requested Apple Maps take me to the post office, but I wound up at some building fresh out of a Friday the 13th movie. 

"Hey, Jason! Do you have any stamps?"

On top of transit changes, Apple is working hard to sharpen its navigational edges. They are parading their Google-Street-View-esque vans around to eventually rival those of Google, so says 9to5Mac.

“In addition to assisting with in-house data collection, the Apple Maps vans are equipped with cameras to collect Street View data. Apple does not believe that classic Street View interfaces developed by Google are intuitive to the user, according to sources with knowledge of Apple’s work on Maps services, so the company is exploring new ways to present Street View imagery.”

By acquiring other mapping companies such as Mapsense, Apple will only continue to grow. The company has set the bar so high with its other products, is there really any doubt Apple Maps won’t work its way up to par?

Turn-by-turn navigation is improving, and the transit directions are spectacular. Apple Maps is certainly on the up and up.

Is One App Markedly Better?

It’s doubtful. Here at eGumball Inc., we don’t discriminate. We offer optimization of businesses on both platforms, as both are so prominent that it would be remiss to ignore either of them.

As far as getting from point A to point B, both will get the job done. If people are like me, they resist too much change when it comes to technology and apps. My iPhone came with Apple Maps, and it’s all I used for quite a while. Yes, it did take me to a horror movie scene once or twice, but Apple continues to iron out the kinks.

So, don’t discriminate. Each app is special in its own right, it’s just a matter of what you’ve become accustomed to.

Are you partial to either Apple or Google Maps, or do you find them mostly the same? Let us know how you navigate in the comment section!

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