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Google vs Apple in mapping out the future

Posted By: Dan Kuseta
08/06/2012

Google vs Apple in mapping out the future

This week the online world has seen the equivalent of a heavyweight bout, with Google and Apple slogging it out as they try to gain the upper hand in the growing, and extremely lucrative, mobile market.

Last week Google landed the first blow, announcing a host of upgrades to its mapping service including 3D and off-road maps.

This week Apple hit back with its new operating system, iOS 6, which features its new custom-built mapping service that will replace Google Maps on Apple's devices.

We take a look at the features of each and what they mean for consumers and brands.

3D

3D isn't just for Hollywood blockbusters anymore, it's the new buzzword in online mapping.

Apple's in-house mapping system features 3D images of cities called 'Flyovers'. While these look good, at this stage the 'Flyovers' are more like snapshots of tourist destinations than useful for navigation. More useful is Apple's new turn-by-turn feature, which is similar to portable GPS devices.

While Google has been offering 3D renderings in Google Earth for some time, it's now adding 3D models for entire metropolitan areas, which will be available on mobile devices. Google showed an impressive video of San Francisco as a sign of what's to come.

Off road

Google isn't content with mapping roads, and has dispatched an army of hikers armed with cameras on backpacks to places like the Grand Canyon.

It's new Street View Trekker eventually aims to cover major trails of National Parks and places of cultural significance, something Apple doesn't currently have.

Siri

Apple announced that Siri, the virtual assistant, has received a major overhaul and now responds to voice commands with the new mapping service.

In the US Siri pulls data from mobile review site Yelp so users can, for example, ask for directions to the nearest cafe. Whether Apple and Yelp roll out a similar service in Australia has yet to be confirmed.

Offline

Not to be outdone, Google Maps is now available offline. Importantly, Google's blog mentioned this feature will be available for Android users in the coming weeks.

All roads lead to mobile

Whichever system consumers ultimately choose, the growth of the mobile market doesn't look like slowing anytime soon. Australians are amongst the highest users of smartphones globally, and are increasingly browsing and buying from mobile devices.

Brands that have a mobile-optimised site (a website designed to be read on a mobile device) and are registerd on mobile review sites such as Yelp and Google Places are well placed to benefit from this booming sector.

The new Google Maps is now available. Apple's new iO6 is slated to be released later this year.

Posted By: Dan Kuseta

Tags: Location,Mobile,Google,technology

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