Finding Google Maps: Sundar Pichai, I Presume?

December 31, 2020

The Google is not getting the respect it once assumed was its droit du seigneur. A recent example is this comment from “Google Maps’ Moat is Evaporating”:

I suspect we’re at the tail end of the golden era for Google Maps. They appear, to me, to be acting from a place of fear and conservatism rather than innovation.

The Google service under the microscope is Google’s ever-so-helpful implementation of a former Sun Microsystems’ observation that when one drives a car with zippy map technology, the map will show you where a gas station is.

That seems quaint now with maps everywhere, even when one does not want them; for example, in a Google search result for certain types of information like C-UAS methods or FPAAs.

The write up strikes me as gleeful in a way. Hey, Google, you are losing it.

Here’s an example:

The trouble is, Google isn’t the only game in town anymore. If they keep alienating their customers and pursuing a proprietary data strategy at all costs, they’re going to continue to lose ground to competition while spending more than ever just to tread water.

Yikes, competition, once thought to be extinct at the GOOG.

Then the cow analogy, an animal some view as sacred:

If Google doesn’t start taking the Google Maps Platform seriously, they’ll slowly but surely find themselves alone on an island of inferior, less frequently updated, and expensive-to-maintain proprietary data. A new generation of innovative apps built on top of OSM will feast like piranhas on a cow treading water.

What’s the cost of digital maps lost in the corporate wilderness? Navigate to “Google Maps Changes a Route after the Drama of Young People Lost on a Ghost Road.” With no local businesses buying ads, resources are better directed elsewhere. Sounds plausible to me, but I am not young, lost, or on a ghost road.

The author may want to make sure the Google cow does not have swim fins.

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2020


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