Today Google had some kind of stupid conference that no one cares about other than tech writers who are grumpy because they didn’t get to attend E3. At this conference, they showed off some new dumb additions to Google Maps in a desperate ploy to keep the almighty Apple gods happy. The author of the article I just linked to implies that Apple’s potential decision to stop carrying Google Maps as it’s default mapping service is somehow negative publicity for Google and that the entire purpose of this conference was to counteract that negative publicity. “Negative publicity” that Google had no control over and ultimately will not affect Google or it’s mapping service very much. Has the world lost its mind?
First of all, Google Maps users number around 1 billion people. In case you haven’t looked up the numbers recently, that’s 1 out of 7 people on the planet. That’s 1 in 7 people including non-English speakers (who might prefer something like Lycos but in Swahili). That’s 1 in 7 people including old people that can’t figure out computers and will probably be dead soon anyway. That’s 1 in 7 people including babies.
Removing the obvious people who aren’t the target demographic of Google Maps strictly from age and language barriers along with the people who use paper maps for some reason, I am guessing it’s more like 1 in 4 people (globally) are using Google Maps for their mapping needs. Considering the fact that Apple only accounts for about 1/4 of smart phones in the US, I’m thinking that a loss of Google Maps as the default mapping software on phones will maybe account for a 1% loss in market share for Google as the mapping software of choice for most people. And it’s not like Google won’t release a new version of their Maps program on the App Store anyway.
Tech writers like Laura Locke are bored. They’re just trying to create a controversy where there isn’t one. The mention at the end of her article about Google pissing off 4Square by charging for its API is some more bullshit. Just because a company has been nice enough to provide its users with a free service for years and then decides that it’s tired of doing all of the leg work for companies that build their entire business model around a free map does not mean that formerly nice company is now evil. They’re evil for other reasons, but because Google has decided to earn some money for its hard work is no reason to think the end user will stop using them. And the fact that Google charges for its API doesn’t even effect the end user anyway.
The biggest controversy I saw in her article was that the new maps would be in 3D. I personally hope that this is merely a confusing use of the term 3D (as in, a screen giving the appearance of 3D as opposed to the giving the illusion of simulating depth on a flat surface by presenting a stereoscopic image, usually aided by 3D glasses). I really hope that confusing wording is the case and that Google isn’t trying to push a new phone onto people that will display a fuzzy 3D image similar to that of the Nintendo 3DS. Remember when people liked 3D movies? That sure was an excellent fad that totally helped the film industry. Don’t bring it to phones, Google.