Apple Takes Action to Improve Map Search

April 8, 2014

I don’t have an iPhone. I do have an ageing Mac notebook. It is reasonably reliable, and I have learned to save my high value content to another storage device. When I need to locate a document, I use more robust and less flakey information retrieval tools to retrieve my information.

I have had to help a couple of people look for information using an iPhone. One notable example was locating Cuba Libre restaurant in Washington, DC. A colleague and I were standing in front of Cuba Libre and we wanted to figure out whether to turn left or right to reach a destination. No luck. The restaurant was not findable.

In my opinion, not only was the Apple map search system inadequate, the system did not acknowledge the fungible existence of the restaurant in which I had eaten a pretty good sandwich.

When I read “Amazon A9s VP of Search Heads to Apple to Fix Up Maps Search,” it dawned on me that Apple seems to have taken action to fix at least one of its search systems. The other thought I had is that Apple, like many other big names, is likely to take a look at open source search technology.

I wonder if Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Oracle will be able to convince Apple to go with Autonomy or Watson or Endeca technology. Landing Apple would be a plus for these three enterprise search vendors.

A question: What happens if Apple embraces a hot open source search solution from an outfit like Elasticsearch or Searchdaimon?

The one striction associated with this alleged personnel shift is that I don’t think that Amazon’s search systems are helpful to me when I run a query. I struggle to NOT out books that are not yet available, and I have a very tough time locating some of Amazon’s lists. But in today’s findability swamp, Apple has to begin its long journey with a single step.

Is it the right one?

Interesting to think about I believe.

Stephen E Arnold, April 8, 2014

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