Google Snubs Apple, Keeps Map App For Itself
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
When Apple released iOS 6 last month, the Internet blew a collective gasket over their first attempt at mapping. Roads were melted, airports were invented, and large areas were sent back to the pre-war black and white days. Many began to beg, to plead, to insist that Google release their own iOS-ready version of maps and bring them back to the good old days of the Apple-Google partnership.
However, it seems as if Google isn’t in any hurry to help Apple (or their customers) with this long-awaited app. Instead, Google is fine with letting these users depend on Google maps via Safari. Since this whole debacle went down, Google has released minor updates to their maps and Street View services and no iOS app.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google, even spoke with the Wall Street Journal, chiding Apple for not sticking with their mapping data. When asked if an iOS-ready version of Google maps is forthcoming, Schmidt gave a textbook non-answer, saying Apple would have to approve it first, and, “They haven’t approved all of Google’s offerings over the years.”
Apple would, by the way, approve their app.
The search giant announced yesterday on their Lat Long blog they’d be unleashing 25 million new building footprints to help users navigate through familiar and unfamiliar territory with a little bit of ease. These building footprints are the slightly raised and lighter looking shapes which represent where buildings are located when looking at a map in Traffic view.
Google has rolled out these new footprints in “major metropolitan areas” in the US, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and the Bay area. These footprints can be seen either on the desktop or on mobile devices.
“This expansion is part of our ongoing effort to provide you with maps that are as comprehensive as possible,” writes Bobby Parikh, Engineering Manager on the Lat Long blog.
On Wednesday, Google announced two new APIs which give developers the ability to write location based apps with and without the GPS data.
The first of which is the Google Maps Tracks API, which can be used to build geo-fencing apps as well as analyze, display and store GPS data on a map. These new APIs can be used to alert a dispatcher whenever a courier leaves a certain location and also enables them to keep tabs on where their delivery staff are on a map. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it will most certainly be helpful for those who would rather use Google’s mapping data.
The second new API announced on Wednesday is the Google Maps Geolocation API. According to the Google Enterprise Blog, where these APIs were announced, Geolocation API can be used to determine the location of a device without using GPS data. Instead, the location data is determined by triangulation, looking up the location of nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. With the Geolocation APIs, businesses can keep tabs on their vehicles without having to install expensive GPS units. In addition, the Geolocation API will operate even in areas where GPS signal is either low or nonexistent.
While these advancements can be accessed via mobile, Google seems to be communicating very clearly that they plan on letting Apple figure this maps thing out on their own, content to continue working on their own offerings as if Apple never existed.