Saturday, August 04, 2012

Map Clash

This is one space Google can't afford to slacken. It will have to double down and go for it.

How Apple's new vector-based Maps leave Google Maps looking jittery
Apple isn't just declaring its independence from Google Maps with its new in-house backend for Maps in iOS 6. It has developed a superior way to deliver map data that relies on resolution independent vectors rather than Google's multiple zoom levels of bit mapped images. .... resolution independent vector images ..... allows users to smoothly zoom in with a pinch of the fingers, while details and labels pop up as space allows. ..... When using to vector maps, all coastlines, roads, labels and other data are represented as mathematical lines rather than as fixed graphic images. This enables Apple to allow users to freely rotate the map however they want; the text of map labels dynamically reorients itself to remain legible. When users zoom in or out, the text size of labels scales smoothly, because it is being rendered live as dynamic text, not as a graphic image that includes text and must be "repainted" for every zoom level..... if you load a map of San Francisco then turn off network access, you can still zoom in and out all over a very large surrounding area without getting Google's zoomed in jaggies and blank grid spaces. ..... Apple's new vector maps can deal far more gracefully with a lost data connection ..... vector graphics (among other technologies) have the potential to revolutionize mobile maps .... Google acquired Where 2 Technologies in 2004 to release its initial web app for online maps, relying heavily on JavaScript and AJAX technologies to enable map zooming and exploration features on the web that nobody had ever seen before..... as Google focused its attention on delivering Android as a competitor to the iPhone, it began launching new map features exclusively on Android as differentiating features iOS didn't have .... Since 2009, Apple has only acquired a dozen different smaller companies. A quarter of these highly selective, strategic moves involved mapping companies. In July 2009 Apple bought Placebase, followed by Poly9 the next July. In August 2011, it bought C3 Technologies, known for work in developing 3D images based on aerial or satellite images. ..... But Apple didn't just want to clone Google Maps. It made plans to replace it with superior technology. By delivering maps as vector graphics, rather than static bit maps, Apple realized it could enhance the navigation experience and take fuller advantage of the graphics capabilities of its newest mobile devices. ...... Google is also working on its own next generation Google Maps that makes use of vectors, but it has a more difficult job because it is targeting several major platforms: the web, which relies upon the experimental new MapsGL enhancements of WebGL; Android, which has a native JavaME-like platform; and its existing public API, which is rooted in how Google Maps has worked in the past. ..... Apple can introduce entirely new technologies very rapidly because it only has to optimize for one platform: iOS Cocoa Touch. Apple isn't serving up a public web version of its own maps as Google does, so it isn't constrained by the limits of web-based technologies. ..... When iOS 6 ships later this fall, Apple will essentially take away about half of Google's mobile maps users, and virtually all of its iOS users. When Apple ships its own Cocoa version of Maps for Mac OS X users, Google will likely lose another valuable segment of desktop users as well. This new competition should push Google to deliver mapping tools that iOS and OS X users will want to go out of their way to download and use
Microsoft just made a legit push in the email space too. This is 3D chess.

Yahoo used Google Search like Apple used Google Maps. But Yahoo did not ditch Google Search for a better Yahoo Search. Too bad.

One great thing about having a successful IPO (here is looking at you Facebook) is you get to engage in wonderful acquisitions. Android was also a Google acquisition.

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