I just read through David Pogue’s freshly published article on the Mapgate situation and noticed a couple interesting revelations. The New York Times technology columnist says that in two weeks, you’ll be able to get Street View in the Google Maps mobile web on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Right now, you can use Safari on your iOS device to navigate to maps.google.com and use Google’s maps on the web, though without spoken directions (you’ll get written directions instead). More tidbits right below…
From Pogue’s article:
You can still use Google’s maps — on the Web. Visit maps.google.com and accept the offer to create a Home-screen icon for you.
You won’t get spoken directions, but you’ll get written directions, public transportation details, live traffic reports and, of course, Google’s far superior maps and data. (In two weeks, you’ll be able to get Street View this way, too, says Google.)
Pogue’s take on Apple Maps?
In short, Maps is an appalling first release. It may be the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed.
I’ve reached out to Google and will update the article when I heard back from them.
Pogue also confirmed earlier reports that a standalone iOS Maps app from Google is due by year’s end.
Here’s Apple’s marketing honcho Phil Schiller demoing Street View in the now defunct Google Maps app on the iPad.
A company official told the journo that Apple is acknowledging the stumble.
We own this; we manage the vendors. This is no one’s issue but ours.
Apparently “well over 99 percent” of the feature’s data set is accurate, though even half a percent of faulty data means a lot of flaws, especially when dealing with huge data sets that encompass, well, planet Earth.
Pogue also notes that even though Apple’s written a beautiful app, the main point of contention is questionable data.
It’s as though you just got a $1,500 professional coffee maker and then poured moldy beans into it.
Don’t expect Apple to fix inaccuracies immediately:
Since the data is all online, Apple can introduce fixes instantly as they’re made, but “it’s not going to change by Friday,” says a product manager. That’s because, in general, the fixes have to be made one at a time, by hand.
Now you know why Apple’s been recruiting Google Maps people.
Specifically, Pogue writes, “Apple passes the error reports to TomTom or whichever data vendor is responsible”, which takes time and introduces another layer of complexity.
By the way, if you plan on using the Google Maps web app (it will prompt you to create a home screen shortcut), I suggest checking out Nokia’s mobile maps at maps.nokia.com.
Nokia’s been playing this game on mobile for a very long time and their data sets and traffic data are just as good as Google’s, if not better.
The same goes for Bing Maps at maps.bing.com.