Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) kicked off the first day of its annual developers’ conference with a complete overhaul of their mapping service, Google Maps. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) called the redesign a ground up overhaul of the product designed to personalize Maps.
Indeed, places that you Google for will now be shown more prominently on the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) maps that you see. Reviews of nearby locations from your Google+ friends will also have their place on the new Google Maps. Google’s new card based interface is also making an appearance in the new Google Maps as are Google Earth features.
Individual & personal maps
Overall, this reworking of Maps is designed to provide every one of Google’s billions of searchers with real time personalized maps that adapt to not only a user’s changing location, but the changing tastes of the user.
This is, by far, the largest revamp of Google Maps since its launch nearly a decade ago. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) did stress that the new Google Maps could change as it is currently in an experimental phase that they are monitoring closely.
The new Google Maps combines location, advertising, social, and the potential for augmented reality in a single ecosystem, allowing Google to tap into a largely unseen source of advertising income and user data.
According to Opus Research, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) dominates the location-based search market with over 90% market share. However, there are some heavy hitters entering the location arena. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has Bing Maps, and although Bing only has 17% of the U.S. search market (which some would say is actually quite impressive), Bing Maps is used by default on all Windows Phones and by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).
Nokia has also lent their mapping expertise to Bing Maps for services like real time traffic updates. As Windows Phone continues to slowly pick up market share (its got just over 5% now) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to pump money into all aspects of their Windows 8 ecosystem, Bing Maps should continue to nip on Google Maps’ heels.
The happy marriage between Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was recently rumored to be in a spot of trouble, this comes by way of the rumor that Facebook may buy the independent mapping app Waze. With a potential price tag of a billion dollars, this would be one of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s largest acquisitions. It would also be the largest replacement of a Microsoft service with their own, as Waze would replace Bing Maps.
The latest rumor on the deal is that the acquisition talks have hit some serious snags, but Microsoft has been warned they could lose one of their largest partners in location and mapping technology.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s mapping struggle
We’ve talked about Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), which licenses Android, and Microsoft, which has Windows Phones, and even Facebook, which with their recently launched Facebook Home and HTC First phone are coming ever closer to releasing a Facebook phone. Last is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which recently jumped ship from Google Maps to go it alone.
This was not a smooth transition for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Tim Cook had to issue a personal apology for the fiasco that was Apple Maps and a senior software developer on the project resigned. In fact Google Maps for iOS has become one of the top downloaded apps on iOS of all time.