Is There Room for Google in an Apple World?
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Google Maps has been the industry leader for years and was the default maps application for Apple’s iOS devices. Consequently, it gained massive amounts of localized data on what people searched for, and put a price on this information that was highly valuable to advertisers. “Google Maps is the reason why Google has been so successful in monetization of mobile,” Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry told Investor’s Business Daily. In addition, “maps-based applications are nonintrusive” for the user, making them a useful canvas for advertisers, and, in turn, earning “significant” revenue for Google.
Google Maps is used by the mobile apps of Yelp (NYSE:YELP), which says it has 6.3 million monthly mobile users, and Foursquare, which has a total of 20 million users, among others.
While Apple has cut down this revenue stream for Google from at least its own mobile devices, its own success in the field will depend on the value-add provided by its new software. At its announcement of the development at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference earlier this week, Apple said its maps software will have in-built turn-by-turn navigation using its Siri voice-recognition software. Google Maps’ verbal turn-by-turn navigation is only available on its own Android software, not on iOS. That’s one point to Apple.
But how quickly and easily will developers make the switch? Third-party app developers are, of course, free to use either, and the two mobile OS leaders will have to prove their worth to become the software of choice. It’s also worthwhile to note that while Google Maps will cease being the default navigation application on iOS devices, it will still likely be available as a standalone app.
“We’ll likely lean toward using (Apple maps for Apple products) because of future integrations,” David Hoang, co-founder of mobile design firm Xhatch, told Investor’s Business Daily.
Google has repeatedly pointed out that it has been developing its mapping software much longer than Apple and so already has a head start. But Apple seems to have done its homework, too. It said it will start out with almost 100 million businesses integrated within its maps. Google said recently that it had upped its reach to 80 million businesses. Google also added a 3D photo rendering of cities in its update of the app, announced just before Apple’s launch. But the iPhone maker launched its own software with the 3D “Flyover” feature created using helicopters that makes it seem like the user is flying over cities.
And while there are other players, including AOL’s (NYSE:AOL) MapQuest, Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Navteq, and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing, Apple and Google will clearly just be fighting against each other.