Originally Posted by runbuh
The software and the data are inextricably linked - you don't push an app out the door that relies on faulty data.
Correct—to a point: the way map data improves IS by software. By pushing it out the door for people to use. That’s how Google does it, and that’s how Apple will do it too. Nobody in Apple’s labs is going to know that Susan’s Diner moved a block over. User reports—and to some extent automated GPS processing (which we hope is anonymized properly)—provide the necessary info to improve and update mapping systems.
Now—where does the best user-sourced data come from?
It comes from the devices people actually have WITH them, awake and in use, when they’re out and about and noticing problems. Not their desktop or even their laptop, but their smartphone.
Which smartphones generate the most user-source data?
The ones that are actually in active use. Look at actual usage data and you’ll see that iPhone dominates. Yes, handset makers throw Android for free onto every random handset these days, and carrier stores (where Americans at least buy most of their phones) push Android over Apple. But you can’t make people USE it. Most of the mobile computing is done on iPhone, and iPhone users are the best possible source of mapping improvements. And most of them are simply going to use the pre-installed Maps app. It’s good enough--and the alternatives aren’t perfect enough to be worth the trouble for average people (as opposed to we tech-heads).
So—who has access to that data? It used to be Google receiving map improvements from iPhone users. Now they’ve lost the single best resource for keeping Google Maps current on ALL platforms, desktop included. Google’s loss is Apple’s gain: Apple now has exclusive access to user problem reports from the Maps app.
So yes, Apple SHOULD have pushed it out the door with faulty data (after all, Google is packed with faulty data too). And now they’re compiling better data while Google is left out.
Look at what Nokia just did with the Here app: by their own admission, they NEED iPhone users to improve their map data—without it, Nokia’s own phones suffer! For the same reason, expect Google to have their own app—but they weren’t smart. They’re too late, and now people are used to the fact that Apple’s Maps is actually OK. Google should have played up the media hype and “saved the day” before people ever gave Maps a chance. Too late now.
Edited by nagromme - 11/27/12 at 5:37pm