As part of un-googling my life, I’ve been using Apple Maps lately. When Apple Maps came out back in 2012, it wasn’t very good. Actually, it was quite an embarrassment for Apple. It routinely sent people to the wrong place, not great for a map and navigation app. Apple was forced though by Google because Google was intentionally keeping Google Maps back on IOS and refused to release navigation which was a default feature on Android for a while. Google wanted to give Android a better experience and Apple had to do something.
Apple has kept on investing in Maps and it’s ok now. It works. It brings me from A to B reliably. It does lack the rich venue experience you get on Google. Google can tell me the opening hours of most venues and a link to their website. It also generates better search results for open queries like “flower shop”.
I’m fond of the Apple Maps voice. It sounds so much more natural and pleasant than Google’s. It’s really well done. Apple Maps is also less chatty than Google Maps. Google Maps repeats instructions way too often for my liking. I also love that Apple Maps gives me a heads up on a long stretch at the beginning. Google is just silent.
I’m not so fond of the Yelp ratings integrated into Apple Maps. Yelp rantings tend to skew to the negative side. I’ve been comparing Yelp ratings and Google ratings. Google ratings tend to be more even and actually compare better with my own experience of particular places I know. Yelp is consistently more negative with lower ratings – even for places I know are not bad or even good. I guess it fits the Yelp brand since they always complain themselves and actively campaign for more search engine exposure and abuse of power by Google.
I’m going to stick with Apple Maps. It’s good enough.