back to article Amazon cosies up to Nokia for Google Maps alternative

Amazon has unveiled a mapping API that offers an exit strategy from Google Maps for its developers. The new API is aimed at devs who want to incorporate mapping into apps on Amazon's pocket cash registers tablets such as the Kindle Fire, and uses Nokia's mapping services – Nokia Location Platform. Although the ruthless retail …

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Anonymous Coward

Google Maps abandoned

"it has failed to keep the product competitive for functions required by air-breathing earthlings"

What's wrong with Google Maps ? It works, I use it on my PC to plan a route if my wife has the sat-nav...

Something is up. With Apple, I put it down to the bust--up re: Andriod on phones.

Now Amazon seem to be planning to move away, I suspect there is more to it than poor maintance...

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Re: Google Maps abandoned

The problem with Google Maps is not the quality of the data but the fact that Google gets to track the users making the request and recommend the advertising / restaurants / pubs / attractions / stores / promotions / coupons etc that undoubtedly appear over the top as overlays. Not only does it increase the amount of revenue they raise but it also feeds back on itself allowing Google to provide useful info such as real time traffic analysis.

Apple would rather that data / money went in its own pocket. Amazon hasn't got maps so it pays Nokia but with the same purpose. Microsoft hasn't got maps so it pays Nokia for the same purpose.

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Re: Google Maps abandoned

There's probably less to it than that. Firstly, Nokia's (or their subsidiary, Navteq's) maps product is actually very good. Every bit as good as Google's, and better in some respects. Public transport information and walking directions are far superior on Nokia's system, for example, but Google's has more POIs. Coverage by country varies from one to the other, but overall it's even.

Secondly, Navteq/Nokia just want to sell their product to a customer; no more, no less. Money changes hands, the customer gets the product. In this "free" age, it sounds like a crazy idea, but at least the customer knows where they stand afterwards.

Most importantly, though, I don't think Google would have sold mapping to Amazon for any price. On mobile platforms, they use Maps and their other applications as bargaining chips to keep Android adopters on side: access to Maps is virtually "free", but only if you play by Google's rules. Amazon most definitely are not playing by Google's rules when it comes to tablets.

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Re: Google Maps abandoned

Companies are seeing it as they're dumping a load of money into google's pockets for something they can do. This is a good thing if it results in more people contributing to openstreetmaps

But hopefully some people can refrain from vandalising it.

http://opengeodata.org/google-ip-vandalizing-openstreetmap

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Re: Google Maps abandoned

"The problem with Google Maps is not the quality of the data"

Oh yes it is. Look at the western Ivory Coast for example, loads of errors, whole missing towns...

Even openstreetmap is better.

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Re: Google Maps abandoned

"Oh yes it is. Look at the western Ivory Coast for example, loads of errors, whole missing towns..."

I'll take your word for it. I've had no issue with it in the UK, Ireland, Spain or in the US. In these countries it has yielded high quality maps and directions for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Maps abandoned

Being the Ivory Coast, the towns themselves may well be missing too, best you go and check a sec..

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Navigation

If its just for location, Nokia offer a great maps solution, but navigation? Last time I used their Maps, the routing routines were awful to say the least...

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Re: Navigation

That must have been a while-ago then as the version I have on my E7 has consigned the old sat-nav box the the drawer and almost always out-performs Google Maps when it comes to routing, managing to knock 1/5th off my walk to work through central London.

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Re: Navigation

"Last time I used their Maps,"

And when was that? Let me guess the Nokia 97 era...

I've been using Nokia Maps (first on my C7 and now on my 701) for the past 3 years and I simply love it. It gets better with every new version. In fact tested next to a Mio PNA and iGO on Windows Mobile and it's faster and spot on.

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Go

Re: Navigation

My experience of Nokia maps / navigation on the N8 has been great. Certainly pans the TomTom.

Offline maps for a start (worldwide pretty much if you want to DL), fast routing, free traffic info, tons of useful POI, lane guidance etcetc. 20k miles use so far and its only got lost once in an industrial estate.

Flickr also uses NokNav now for far finer positioning than the previous pos thankfully.

The best digital maps I've used.

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Re: Navigation

No, actually till the last update for Nokia 5800 Xpress. After that I become aware of Sygic.Pity they discontinued the symbian version.

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Re: Navigation

Try the navigation outside a major city and then we could talk ;-)

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Holmes

Yet another Mapping service

I gave up trying to keep up with the various API's - especially when Google started charging so I've gone the other more extreme route, OpenStreetMap data on my own tile server & OpenLayers as the front end.

I don't need the whole world but the UK still needs 7Gb of disk space just for the PostgreSQL database - but it works & I can customise it to how I want not to how some advert farm wants it.

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Anonymous Coward

Duh

"While Google now offers maps of the Moon, Mars, undersea terrain and the sky - it has failed to keep the product competitive for functions required by air-breathing earthlings."

Funny, I find Google Maps fantastic with its offline mode, renders horribly fast, and does a splendid job. Also, it turns out to be smart enough to be able to plan routes around London's fucked-up public transport system, something that most sane humans balk at.

Was this remark based on current experience, or just rhetorical flourish founded on outdated experience/hearsay/using the awful iOS client for gmaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Duh

Of course not. "They" always complain with regards to older version. Just like all the complaints about Nokia (symbian) phones, most commenters remember the N97 fiasco but have no clue how great the 701 actually is.

The Lumia's on the other hand suck big time; they are fragile and Nokia's after sale service is just horrible.

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FAIL

Re: Duh

It doesn't do offline navigation. Big problem for a lot of people including me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Duh

Oh, well, "a lot of people who are too stupid to look in the menu for 'make available offline'", then? Thanks for your thoughts, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Sponsored Directions

Can't remember when it changed, but as of a few months ago if I type a town name into Google Maps looking for directions to the town centre, it gives you a company with the town name in its company name; in some cases far from the town itself. A decision driven purely by sponsors, not what's best, easiest or most user friendly for its users.

Looking promising that more and more tech companies are moving away from Google though - hopefully it'll make them reconsider their relentless focus on their advertisers to the detriment of users...

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Yet another evidence of the (ex-MS beancounter) Nokia CEO's trojan horse role...

...by simply driving Nokia into the ground and getting it ready for MS to pick up hw, distribution and perhaps the map service from the carcass for next to nothing.

"Wasn't this a case of giving away the 'crown jewels', asked some pundits?"

Of course it was - but this is why he's there, remember.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yet another evidence of the (ex-MS beancounter) Nokia CEO's trojan horse role...

Oh, do give it a rest. How on Earth is Nokia signing deals with Amazon running it into the ground so that MS can take it over? Really, I mean really, how?

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Devil

Not everyone lives in Silicone Valley...

...with ever present fast mobile data. But Google want, need, you the product ONLINE. And so what is otherwise quite obviously one of the best map apps available is deliberately crippled.

Navigation requiring internet connectivity is just retarded. Anyone outside a major city center who doesn't understand that needs to get out a little more often.

It's actually one of the major drawbacks of Android.

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Obvious choice

Works offline without a hitch, knows every nook and cranny (awesome if you're on foot), full of great features – Nokia navigation all the way.

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But you can download google maps

Google maps are downloadable on any Android device running version 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. They added it in just before the Nexus 7 came out.

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Stop

Re: But you can download google maps

For about the 3rd time in this thread, it's necessary to point out that you *cannot* do navigation (or search) offline in Google Maps / Navigation!

Caching the maps just helps cut down bandwidth costs thereafter. They are all but unusable without a connection.

You can't even reverse a route that you just took from A to B, to get back to A from B again. Pretty hopeless when B is somewhere with sketchy or completely absent mobile internet. You can actually get yourself lost if you're not careful because of this.

For serious navigation you basically *need* a secondary proper offline maps app, which is a pity because the Google Maps UI is brilliant and all the others on the Android Play market are overpriced or junk. Hence, Nokia, Apple, and now it seems MS, all have a fairly major advantage.

I hope, probably in vain, that such competition forces Google to turn Maps into a practical app.

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Re: But you can download google maps

Again, this depends where you are. I live in Spain. Just bought myself a Nexus 7 and one of the most exciting features for me was the offline maps. Right until I got the message "Part of your map will not be available". No further explanation. Turns out that offline maps don't work at all in Spain (or many other countries for that matter). I found this out by spending about 45 minutes searching G+ forums. It's ok though because Google are going to make this feature available when they can, again no idea when that is, but at some point in the future if they can be arsed they will get round to it.

I've been an Android user since the early days and I'm now seriously considering the new Nokia. Great hardware, camera and maps. Those are the killer things for me. I'm just not sure if I can live with WP...

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Re: But you can download google maps

A nice Nokia iPhone knock-off, a la Galaxy or LG Optimus, with Android - and Nokia maps on it - would be nice, would it not?

Ah first world problems.

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Re: But you can download google maps

"For about the 3rd time in this thread, it's necessary to point out that you *cannot* do navigation (or search) offline in Google Maps / Navigation!.

Caching the maps just helps cut down bandwidth costs thereafter. They are all but unusable without a connection."

Right. I guess you *cannot* do navigation with a paper map either.

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Anonymous Coward

@gribbler

Try the demo of Sygic from the Play store on your N7, I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

I have Navigon*, CoPilot and several OSM apps on my Android devices, and Google Maps offline mode knocks them all into a cocked hat, for speed of search, quality of results, slickness of renderer etc.. I did enjoy Nokia maps back in the stone age when Nokia wasn't an eccentric choice for people with an allergy to good devices, but don't really fancy a Lumia just to have their kickass maps.

(Also, Sygic for Android seems really nice, from taking the demo for a quick spin, and their support people are super friendly and helpful, the devs actually respond, too.. gasp.. worth a look)

* DO NOT BUY NAVIGON, if you change phone, they expect you to pony up again, and don't let you transfer license. Fuck these guys, avoid them, and avoid their parent company Garmin, too. Too many hours of my life wasted on the phone to the "support" line to rude people with thick Russian accents; I am a bit cross about this :)

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