Trending at Twitter and surging happily on Wall Street today, Google is making waves after releasing its new maps application for iOS, with its stock opening at $700 a share, jumping as high as $716.47 in early trading.
The new map application released on Wednesday, is considered a response to Apple’s notorious misstep earlier this year when it removed Google Maps from its newly released iPhone and iPad, replacing it with an alternative Apple map application that was a dismal failure (see image below).
While Apple ultimately fixed their blunder, customer grumbling was deafening and clearly Google saw the opening to jump in … and did. The response has been overwhelming. According to a report by Mashable :
For months, Google has been rumored to be working on a new maps app for iOS. That app was released just before midnight on Wednesday and soared to the top of the free apps list in the App Store just a few hours later.
Aside from all the positive press Google is getting, the new maps app gives Google an opportunity to generate additional revenue by including local ad listings in the app.
While those who trade in stocks can celebrate the boost in the commodity of the new app, users are the ones will see to its ultimate success. The new Google Maps is getting good reviews so far, with Bloomberg Business Week reporting that its most applauded feature is the one Apple Maps so badly lacked — accuracy. But even beyond that delightful twist, its bells and whistles are an impressive lot – speed, smoothness, more features, more data, turn-by-turn navigation (a clear response to the inclusion of that feature at Apple maps). Bloomberg does, however, note a few trade-offs:
Here’s what you don’t get with Google Maps instead of Apple’s Maps: You’ll lose Flyover, Apple’s gee-whiz feature where you can see a satellite-image of an area in a 3D-like perspective. Flyover was impressive to look at, but it’s always been little more than a gimmick. After all, being able to travel virtually over land and between buildings is not nearly as useful as Google’s Street View, where you can actually see where you’re going. Unless you’re Superman, I suppose. OK, fine—if you’re Superman, Flyover is incredibly useful. The rest of us are better off with more terrestrial navigation capabilities.
You also lose Siri integration, so you can’t activate Google Maps by voice. That’s a bummer, but not a deal breaker. Google Maps more than compensates for that by linking to your Google account, so any Maps search you’ve performed on your PC will be listed in the history of the Google Maps app. This is particularly helpful if you’re planning a trip: You can find your destinations on your laptop or tablet at home (which is easier than entering all that info on a tiny touch screen), and all your places will be a tap away on your phone when you get in the car.
The happy bottom line, however, seems to be that competition makes for innovation and ultimately a better product for the customer. The issues raised after CEO Steve Cook made the miscalculation to kick Google Maps to the Apple curb ultimately drove Google to make a better “widget,” so to speak. Given the stocks a’leapin’, the apps a’flyin’ and that most desirous of all traits in a map application, accuracy, it appears they met the challenge with aplomb.