Google Maps – Always Finds Way to Be in the News

Rewind to 2004. Imagine if you could see real time traffic updates and are notified that a road you want to take is crowded and you should opt for another way to reach your destinations with ease, would it be anything short of magic?

And now a decade later, there is not just one but many such applications that make this magic a day to day reality. The Google Maps application and technology was developed by Google to offer satellite imagery, street view and other notable features. Not only does this app provide with navigation facility but also wider aspects of mapping. A lot has been said about the broad spectrum of web mapping feature of Google Maps, and with that, the app has also faced severe criticism for a number of issues. Google Inc. updated its terms of service for its mapping facility. The revisions more explicitly spell out the manner in which the Google software uses a route planner to determine the directions.

Where Has It Gone Wrong

Google’s incredible market share puts a whole lot of accountability as the world was reminded recently when the Palestinian territories were changed to Palestine. In the light of several surveys and reports, there are several vulnerabilities surrounding Google maps. Security concerns regarding Google maps are bringing in huge criticisms from several quarters. In 2005, a nuclear organization situated in Australia complained about the potential threats from terrorists using the Google map technique of satellite imagery to locate several places.

Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps

The Apple and Google map war is not hidden. If anyone is unsure about what is being talked about, here is a small brief. Apple released its iOS 6 over a year ago. One of the most controversial changes was to remove the Google maps application. Instead, they launched their own Apple powered maps. Due to this, Google maps made several updates to better monetize the application. The effect of Apple powered maps was overwhelming, as a result of which the Google maps lost access to various important data channels in the western market. Google Maps was at its peak in September 2013 and had around 82 million users but a catastrophic changed reduced its users to around 59 million a year later. Several stats projected the decline of 43% in the number of users accessing the application in the US. To take a considerable lead over the Apple, Google bought the Israeli mapping startup Waze in 2013 for USD 1 billion. This built up an online real time mapping feature and service to safeguard its interests in smart phone usage.

Trying to Claw Back

In April 2014, the 360 degree mapping imagery was expanded to 58 countries and street view was launched in Cook Island. It was also updated to reflect the Crimean crisis. A patent war with Apple with respect to the 3D images, also created a huge controversy. Google Maps was again in the news when it added five star rating systems that steer users towards the best restaurants, bars, and cafes and gives them a speedier read on how others rate these places.

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