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Google's new 3D Maps destroy Manhattan in the wake of Apple's Flyover

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
Nearly a year after Apple introduced its own Maps service in iOS 6 with Flyover 3D satellite views, Google is expanding its own online Maps to support similar 3D satellite imagery, with the same sorts of buckled roads and visual distortions Apple was castigated for last summer.

Google Maps 3D
Google Maps 3D still a work in progress


Introducing the new Google Maps with 3D



Unlike Apple's iOS 6 Maps, which target relatively low powered mobile devices, the new 3D features in Google Maps that were introduced last week require a modern PC running a web browser with a supported version of WebGL hardware accelerated rendering.

That limits Google Maps' photorealistic 3D features to users of Chrome or Firefox on a Mac or Windows PC. Mobile users will have to settle for grey 3D building models or use the increasingly outdated Google Earth, which unlike Apple Maps' Flyover feature, is not integrated with the search and directions of Google's mobile Maps apps.

iOSMaps.layout.100512.030.jpg


This makes the new Google Maps more akin to Nokia's web-based Maps 3D. Nokia's product, which while leveraging the same technology Apple acquired to build iOS Maps' Flyover features, is also limited to the desktop web browser. A year after Apple launched iOS 6 with Flyover, neither Google nor Nokia have a similar, integrated 3D visualization feature for their own mobile platforms.

Were Google to launch a 3D Maps app for Android with similar specifications to its current desktop maps product, it would only work on about 29 percent of the platform's reported installed base of devices, just like the company's Google Now, which requires Jelly Bean 4.1.

Access to the new Google Maps also requires an invitation, which links your online session to your Google account, reinforcing the company's ad-centric business model. The company's introduction to the new generation of Google Maps first highlights search features, then notes how the new product focuses on promoting businesses, "like restaurants that are recommended by your Google+ friends," as shown in the graphic below.

Google Maps Ads
Source: Google


The last feature Google highlights is "amazing imagery for exploring the world," of which the company observes, "of course, no map would be complete without amazing images for exploring the world." Oddly enough, Google is pointing out that its own latest mobile maps for Android and iOS are not as "complete" as Apple's own iOS 6 Maps.

"The new carousel gathers all Google Maps imagery in one spot enabling you to fly through cities," it notes, carefully avoiding the "Flyover" term Apple introduced a year ago. And again, only on the desktop, and currently only in an invite-only beta, can Google Maps users "find the Earth view which directly integrates the beautiful 3D experience from Google Earth into the new maps."

Google Maps 3D
Source: Google


Google Maps 3D messes with Manhattan



Despite its years of experience in 2D digital mapping, Google's year late, non-mobile 3D Maps product is riddled with the same kind of glitches that Apple scrambled to address after the release of its own new Maps was greeted with contempt and derision. And users don't have to scour the planet to find undulating roads and smeared buildings in remote areas.

AppleInsider reader Vesko Kateliev shared Google Map's above image of Midtown Manhattan (detailed at the native resolution, below), where roads turn into waterfalls and parked cars slide up the side of of a building as if trying to escape from a rolling wave of energy twisting buildings and bulging roads into the air.

Google Maps 3D
Google Maps 3D still a work in progress


Apple's Flyover representation of the same area (below) is detailed enough to see that the building Google portrays as being smeared with taxis is actually a JC Penney, and you can even make out that the adjacent billboard is an iPad commercial. Apple even does a much better job at labels for points of interest and streets. Apple also labels 6th Avenue by its official name, "Avenue of the Americas," although a search of "6th Ave" also works.

Apple Maps 3D


Spin around Herald Square from the opposite direction and Google Map's 3D turns its trees into a strange pillar of goo (below top), a visualization that is clearly bested by Apple's detailed Flyover view in iOS 6 Maps (below bottom).

Google Maps 3D
Google Maps 3D still a work in progress

Apple Maps 3D


While Google does a better job with major landmarks like the Empire State Building (below top), Apple's Flyover version is both much more detailed (an impressive feat given the processing power of the iPad compared to a desktop PC) and offers a clearer representation of its surroundings (visible in the two images below it).

Google Maps 3D
Google Maps 3D still a work in progress


Apple Maps 3D

Apple Maps 3D


Apple advancing its own Maps



So far, there hasn't been any embittered contempt voiced by the tech media for Google's attempts to chase Apple's Flyover coattails with a seriously flawed offering that doesn't even work on mobile devices; the sloppy release of Google's own 3D product also calls into question the company's hubris in fueling smear campaigns against Apple's own mapping product last fall.

Apple has been focused on enhancing its own product, meeting the needs of developers and hiring new staff to work on the project.

Additional advancement of Maps for iOS 7, and perhaps on the Mac in OS X 10.9, is expected to be announced next month at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference.

Google has apparently felt the pinch of losing its default position as the Maps app iOS users see on their Home screen, as just last month the company's chair and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt said, "we would still really like them to use our maps" as the default choice in iOS.

"It would be easy for them to take the app in the store and put it as their basic one," he observed.
post #2 of 142
"But but but but but but who would want to see the world like this? Apple is so stupid for their 3D models of the world."
post #3 of 142
No one will care. In the opinion of the spinmeisters, Apple is bad and Apple's Maps are a disaster... no matter how much improved.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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GOA

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post #4 of 142
Where are the hypocritical Fantards now? Bashing Apple for having zero experience in Maps, yet here's Google with years and years of head-start and they come out with this garbage, and in worst condition than Maps is??!!

Well?? We're waiting?? How are you going to spin this story?? How are you going to be Google's mouthpiece? Time to grab your ankles.
Edited by sflocal - 5/22/13 at 4:19pm
post #5 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Where are the hypocritical Fantards now? Bashing Apple for having zero experience in Maps, yet here's Google with years and years of head-start and they come out with this garbage, and in worst condition that Maps is??!!

Well?? We're waiting?? How are you going to spin this story?? How are you going to be Google's mouthpiece? Time to grab your ankles.

Not to mention, of course, the really scary part:
"Access to the new Google Maps also requires an invitation, which links your online session to your Google account, reinforcing the company's ad-centric business model."

You can't even look at a map without Google crawling into your shorts.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #6 of 142

Fantastic post, DED.

 

👍

post #7 of 142
I wish I could make the Godzilla "honk" sound right now.
post #8 of 142

"A year after Apple launched iOS 6 with Flyover, neither Google nor Nokia have a similar, integrated 3D visualization feature for their own mobile platforms"

 

Not true. This has been available in Google earth on mobile for about a year. You can view all this now without an invitation by using Google Earth for desktop, as you have been able to do for a year. The invitation is only for the new Google maps which combined earth and maps (finally).

 

I've always thought the criticism at Apple's (and Google's) 3D technology was misguided. It's a tremendously cool feature and I applaud both companies for this kind of innovation, as I have been from the first time Google introduced it.

post #9 of 142

"...where roads turn into waterfalls and parked cars slide up the side of of a building as if trying to escape from a rolling wave of energy twisting buildings and bulging roads into the air."

 

And yet no "Matrix" reference though, huh?   "Whoa..."

 

Edit: Great article, by the way.  It will be interesting to see if other media outlets pickup the topic.

Congrats.

post #10 of 142
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
"...where roads turn into waterfalls and parked cars slide up the side of of a building as if trying to escape from a rolling wave of energy twisting buildings and bulging roads into the air."

 

And yet no "Matrix" reference though, huh?   "Whoa..."

 

Folding topography, I'd have thought Inception.

post #11 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NexusPhan View Post

"A year after Apple launched iOS 6 with Flyover, neither Google nor Nokia have a similar, integrated 3D visualization feature for their own mobile platforms"

 

Not true. This has been available in Google earth on mobile for about a year. You can view all this now without an invitation by using Google Earth for desktop, as you have been able to do for a year. The invitation is only for the new Google maps which combined earth and maps (finally).

 

I've always thought the criticism at Apple's (and Google's) 3D technology was misguided. It's a tremendously cool feature and I applaud both companies for this kind of innovation, as I have been from the first time Google introduced it.

The article references Google Earth rather prominently, but the key detail you ignored is "integrated."

 

It's not very useful to look up an address, then launch another app to see the environment around it, and then go back and forth between them. They also have a different interface. Apple's Maps app integrates 2D/3D and Flyover all in the same interface, making it easy to search and then explore the result.

post #12 of 142

Personally, I find 3D maps to be an unnecessary feature for what all I am trying to do is to get from point A to point B.

post #13 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Not to mention, of course, the really scary part:
"Access to the new Google Maps also requires an invitation, which links your online session to your Google account, reinforcing the company's ad-centric business model."

You can't even look at a map without Google crawling into your shorts.

To paraphrase Schmidt: "just don't wear shorts."
post #14 of 142

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post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

To paraphrase Schmidt: "just don't wear shorts."

If you're not wearing shorts in public then Jobs's infamous comment my arise: "You're holding it wrong."

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post #16 of 142
I was hoping someone would make an article like this. I noticed a shit load of messed up 3D after browsing around with my invite, but unlike with the launch of Apple maps, when a million blogs were stup specifically to showcase these, as well the screenshots captured and used as headlines on all major news outlets and tech blogs, for weeks and weeks, I haven't seen a fucking PEEP about this, anywhere. The same people that spent hours scouring for such imagery over which to mock Apple, and used it as "evidence" that Apple had "lost it" and is now in a downwards spiral, aren't saying a fucking word now. Why? Because they don't give a shit.

These same Google-worshipping fanatics were not willing to give Apple, a company who has never been in the maps business, a pass over imperfections in a feature that Google didn't even have, will now make excuses for Google and will give them a pass for even worse distortions a year later, from a company who has been in the maps business for over a decade and is one of their core products. Just goes to show the utter vapidity and emptiness of these attacks, and the vile hypocrisy involved.

Will anyone bother setting up tumblr blogs showcasing these? Of course not.
post #17 of 142
King Kong
Q: The Winged Serpent
Staypuft Marshmallow Man
The Independence Day aliens
Godzilla
Cloverfield
The Taliban
Loki and the Chitauri
Apple
Google
Sarah Jessica Parker

Let's face it, folks.

New York is just not as safe to live in as it used to be...
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post #18 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

No one will care. In the opinion of the spinmeisters, Apple is bad and Apple's Maps are a disaster... no matter how much improved.

Make that "In the opinion of some spinmeisters, Apple is bad and Apple's Maps are a disaster"

 

In the opinion of other spinmeisters, Google is evil and Apple can do no wrong.

 

If you consider yourself an objective person, there are fanboyz and haters in every camp. Why pretend Apple is the underdog in all corners?

post #19 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

King Kong
Q: The Winged Serpent
Staypuft Marshmallow Man
The Independence Day aliens
Godzilla
Cloverfield
The Taliban
Loki and the Chitauri
Apple
Google
Sarah Jessica Parker

Let's face it, folks.

New York is just not as safe to live in as it used to be...

Don't forget the Foot Clan and nearly half the Marvel Universe.

post #20 of 142

Let's see, 3d flyover or street view, which is more useful?

 

I'm sorry, Apple just isn't there with useful mapping.

post #21 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NexusPhan View Post

"A year after Apple launched iOS 6 with Flyover, neither Google nor Nokia have a similar, integrated 3D visualization feature for their own mobile platforms"


Not true. This has been available in Google earth on mobile for about a year. You can view all this now without an invitation by using Google Earth for desktop, as you have been able to do for a year. The invitation is only for the new Google maps which combined earth and maps (finally).

Actually, your "not true" is not true... The new desktop Google Maps (invite only) includes Street View, Google Earth and a "Picture Carousel". The implemention of Earth is different -- it doesn't zoom all the way out, rotate the earth, then zoom in -- but the underlying data and graphics are much the same for most places.

The highway at Hoover Dam still sags down the canyon walls, you still can't read [see] the sign on the Rose Bowl, you still don't get 3D of Versailles and most places

They have given a limited approximation of 3D for a few places -- but it is much more restricted than Apple Maps (4 45-degree rotations and 2 3D angles).
Quote:
I've always thought the criticism at Apple's (and Google's) 3D technology was misguided. It's a tremendously cool feature and I applaud both companies for this kind of innovation, as I have been from the first time Google introduced it.

Here is something that you can do in Apple Maps, that you cannot do in either Standard Earth or Earth in Invite Google Desktop Maps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOgE0s53jgU

Note the Apple Maps Zamboni


You can increase the video resolution to 1080p on the Mac or 720p on the iPad.


Oddly, this was created on an iPad 4 Retina at 2048 x 1536 -- and had to be scaled down to run on the Mac...
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 5/22/13 at 4:28pm
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post #22 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Not to mention, of course, the really scary part:
"Access to the new Google Maps also requires an invitation, which links your online session to your Google account, reinforcing the company's ad-centric business model."

You can't even look at a map without Google crawling into your shorts.


Hence my remark about the Fantards grabbing their ankles. :)
post #23 of 142
Receptionist: "Mr Cook?"
Tim Cook: "Yes, Doris?"
Receptionist: "I have Mr Forstall on the line for you. He wishes to speak with you."
Tim Cook: * groan *
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post #24 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Let's see, 3d flyover or street view, which is more useful?

I'm sorry, Apple just isn't there with useful mapping.

I certainly find StreetView more useful than Flyover but you're just trying to change the subject from the fact that the anti-Apple and pro-Google crowd lambasted Apple over 1) including FlyOver which they said had zero utility, and 2) laughed at FlyOver for not perfectly rendering every image and using it as proof Apple shouldn't be doing any mapping against Google's years of experience.

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post #25 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Let's see, 3d flyover or street view, which is more useful?

 

I'm sorry, Apple just isn't there with useful mapping.


Troll #1 entered the room!

Within 17 seconds of Apple coming out with Maps, trolls trampled on Apple.  3D is useless!! Google has a decade of a head start!!  

And now?  Hardly a peep... but this guy is "suddenly" saying that 3D is not useful anyways.  Oh look... a squirrel!

Let's see what #2 says...

post #26 of 142

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post #27 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Personally, I find 3D maps to be an unnecessary feature for what all I am trying to do is to get from point A to point B.

That well may be true for many people, many ties -- when they're just going between points A and B. However, many people often like to see what's in the neighborhood and explore a little. That's what makes Google Street View popular. The Picture Carousel in the New Google Maps is targeted at "exploring".

For example, you might be driving to 6th and Hill in Los Angeles -- and never realize the "little treasure" in the neighborhood.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 5/22/13 at 5:05pm
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post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

I was hoping someone would make an article like this. I noticed a shit load of messed up 3D after browsing around with my invite, but unlike with the launch of Apple maps, when a million blogs were stup specifically to showcase these, as well the screenshots captured and used as headlines on all major news outlets and tech blogs, for weeks and weeks, I haven't seen a fucking PEEP about this, anywhere. The same people that spent hours scouring for such imagery over which to mock Apple, and used it as "evidence" that Apple had "lost it" and is now in a downwards spiral, aren't saying a fucking word now. Why? Because they don't give a shit.

These same Google-worshipping fanatics were not willing to give Apple, a company who has never been in the maps business, a pass over imperfections in a feature that Google didn't even have, will now make excuses for Google and will give them a pass for even worse distortions a year later, from a company who has been in the maps business for over a decade and is one of their core products. Just goes to show the utter vapidity and emptiness of these attacks, and the vile hypocrisy involved.

Will anyone bother setting up tumblr blogs showcasing these? Of course not.

Actually, Google was smart in some ways:
  • they didn't discontinue the existing map products -- replacing them with unfinished new ones
  • they treated it like an invitation-only beta -- where warts and problems are expected
  • they enlisted help/feedback from the users

Hence, no apologies necessary!
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post #29 of 142
Hello... Google has had this problem forever and on Google Earth too. The Apple haters just never talk about it.
post #30 of 142
I suspect that at WWDC we'll see introduction of:
  • an iMac with Retina Display
  • Apple Maps for OSX and the desktop (including 3D Flyover)
  • a desktop UI to provide flexible manipulation of 2D and 3D maps equal to the iPad
  • enhanced iOS and OSX Maps SDK to provide programming APIs to developers
  • enhanced maps data and POI data
  • enhanced maps search

It is also possible that Apple could contract Street View capability from Nokia/Naviteq.


If this is done right, Apple Maps on the Desktop could be quite competitive!
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post #31 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Actually, Google was smart in some ways:!

I can't prove this but I suspect they had their Google Maps for iOS ready well before iOS 6 was launched but waited for the backlash so they could come in like saviors. Many news organizations announced Google Maps coming back to the iPhone as if Apple caved and switched out the back-end in Maps for Google, when it was just a 3rd-party app on the App Store which has been allowed since 2008 when the App Store opened. It's sleazy but it's smart business which is why I think that's what Google did.

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post #32 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I certainly find StreetView more useful than Flyover but you're just trying to change the subject from the fact that the anti-Apple and pro-Google crowd lambasted Apple over 1) including FlyOver which they said had zero utility, and 2) laughed at FlyOver for not perfectly rendering every image and using it as proof Apple shouldn't be doing any mapping against Google's years of experience.

 

This still has no utility.  It's a feature added on for curiosity's sake, unlike in Apple maps where it "doubles" as Street View.

post #33 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


Troll #1 entered the room!

Within 17 seconds of Apple coming out with Maps, trolls trampled on Apple.  3D is useless!! Google has a decade of a head start!!  

And now?  Hardly a peep... but this guy is "suddenly" saying that 3D is not useful anyways.  Oh look... a squirrel!

Let's see what #2 says...

So - you're calling him out for representing a consistent opinion?  You indicated that he said "3D was useless" when referring to Apple maps and then he later said "3D is not useful anyways" when referring to the Google maps.  

 

Sounds to me like he just conceded that the Google Maps 3D sucks as badly as the Apple Maps 3D.

post #34 of 142
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post #35 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I certainly find StreetView more useful than Flyover but you're just trying to change the subject from the fact that the anti-Apple and pro-Google crowd lambasted Apple over 1) including FlyOver which they said had zero utility, and 2) laughed at FlyOver for not perfectly rendering every image and using it as proof Apple shouldn't be doing any mapping against Google's years of experience.

This still has no utility.  It's a feature added on for curiosity's sake, unlike in Apple maps where it "doubles" as Street View.

That is your opinion, and you're entitled to it!

However, some of us believe that Flyover is a major feature which will become integral to mapping/navigation, trip planning, promotion/advertising in the near future.
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post #36 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Personally, I find 3D maps to be an unnecessary feature for what all I am trying to do is to get from point A to point B.

Yeah, they're just fun to view what a foreign city is like. But we're I there I wouldn't use them.
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post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


That is your opinion, and you're entitled to it!

However, some of us believe that Flyover is a major feature which will become integral to mapping/navigation, trip planning, promotion/advertising in the near future.

Then you should check out the Bing maps "Bird's Eye view".  Not much distortion at all and you can view any area via perspectives from the north/south/east/west.

post #38 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by runbuh View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

That is your opinion, and you're entitled to it!


However, some of us believe that Flyover is a major feature which will become integral to mapping/navigation, trip planning, promotion/advertising in the near future.
Then you should check out the Bing maps "Bird's Eye view".  Not much distortion at all and you can view any area via perspectives from the north/south/east/west.

Have a look at Hoover Dam in Bird's Eye view...

The bridge sags down the canyon walls.

There are only 4 compass points.

There is only 1 3D angle.

No comparison to Apple maps.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 5/22/13 at 5:37pm
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post #39 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I suspect that at WWDC we'll see introduction of:
  • an iMac with Retina Display
  • Apple Maps for OSX and the desktop (including 3D Flyover)
  • a desktop UI to provide flexible manipulation of 2D and 3D maps equal to the iPad
  • enhanced iOS and OSX Maps SDK to provide programming APIs to developers
  • enhanced maps data and POI data
  • enhanced maps search

You  didn't mention what I'd like, Mini iPad with Retina Display.  lol.gif

post #40 of 142

On iOS iPhone:

For my use, Apple Maps is more accurate than Google Maps.  I frequently ran into serious Google Maps errors, so I  now seldom use GM for map location.

Now I only use Google Maps when I occasionally need a street view!

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