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back to article Apple: What do our Maps need? Stalk-yer-buddies Foursquare tech, NATCH!

Apple has been talking to location-based social network Foursquare in a bid to sex up Apple Maps, it has been reported. After bringing the Google Maps app back to iOS, Apple is now looking for ways to improve its own much-criticised Maps product. And it looks like Apple execs think Foursquare data - which includes user tips, …

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

What do they need?

Bleeding well fixing properly?! Oh no, let's add something that the hipsters will fall over themselves to use to organise their vacant lives, even if they all end up in different places 'cos the maps are a bit crap!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

Google maps was probably no better in the early days and do you really just want one major supplier of mapping? Apple maps getting better will make Google maps look for ways to improve. Apple have a lot of cash they can spend on buying companies / technology and a big dividend (over 500m a year) from not using Google maps.

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Re: What do they need?

"Google maps was probably no better in the early days"

No - Google maps always tended to get the location of major towns correct. Never mind minor land marks.

"do you really just want one major supplier of mapping"

There are other mapping services other than Google and Apple already.

Kind of doubt anything else you've said now!

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Meh

Re: What do they need?

@AC 16:20

You're right about competition being good, but wrong (IMO) about everything else.

Competition is good, but let's be honest - if Apple's core, ignore-everything-else-until-this-is-sorted, focus isn't on making Apple Maps at least as useful on a basic leve as Google Maps, then they're doing it wrong. The fact that the Google Maps App is back means that people will be installing the Google App and using it as their default mapping application - for example, I know at least 1 person who's held off the iOS 6 upgrade until the Google Maps app was available again, because they don't want to even try the Apple Maps version.

Social mapping might well be interesting, especially if Apple want to get Apple Maps into the location-advertising business. Working on that angle while their map application is so feeble that police forces in several areas have had to make public statements warning the public not to use or depend on it, and the average userbase relationship to the software is at best described as "hostile", is a combination of hubris and cart-before-horsemanship.

All of the above aside, Bing maps still exists and is a thing, as are the numerous dedicated GPS providers who work in this area. Not having an iOS application may be inconvenient, but it is not an indication of lack of competition - especially not since Apple has a veto over all app store listings, and demands a 30% cut of any profit made for sales through that channel.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

Google Maps is not perfect by any means. Satellite mapping where I live is probably 4+ years old. I have reported several errors to them over the last year and none have been fixed and when I used it to find somewhere the other day it was a few hundred metres off. So good but not perfect and don't kid yourself it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

"I know at least 1 person who's held off the iOS 6 upgrade"

Dead representative. I know plenty of people who installed iOS 6 and are perfectly happy with Apple Maps - now I have both on my phone so it's a win win. Apple maps found a place the other day that Google Maps did not and the delivery driver use uses Google maps to find places he is delivering to said Google Maps has plenty of faults. Anecdotal I know but surely Apple spending cash improving their product and forcing Google to improve is a good thing as non-Apple users benefit as well.

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FAIL

Re: What do they need?

"No - Google maps always tended to get the location of major towns correct. Never mind minor land marks."

Did it fuck! Google maps was laughably bad when it was first released. "Kind of doubt anything else you've said now!" Yup.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

" Apple maps found a place the other day that Google Maps did not "...would that be one of the major UK cities that Apple maps lost or misplaced by any chance.

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Meh

Well

I haven't bothered downloading Google Maps, I find it more fun using Apple Maps on my iphone as everyday it brings a surprise!

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Re: What do they need?

" and the delivery driver use uses Google maps to find places he is delivering to said Google Maps has plenty of faults"

Seriously?

The delivery driver uses free mapping software?

What company was this please?

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WTF?

Re: What do they need?

Let me get this right. Google are providing fr free an application which would cost Apple a fortune to duplicate and which makes iOS more attractive. What exactly are Apple doing wrong here? Getting your major competitor to enhance your product for free seems pretty smart to me.

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Meh

Re: What do they need?

@AC 16:43 - Yeah, I know, anecdotal evidence etc. I didn't mean to imply that was an across-the-board thing, merely to point out that I know at least one person for whom a loss of reliability in mapping software was enough of a problem that an OS upgrade would be put on hold until it was resolved.

A wider variety of services being available is a good thing, yes: but you're confusing "more than one mapping software provider working in the market" with "more than one mapping software provider specifically making an iOS app available". You could still use the web interface for Google or Bing maps (and possibly still others like mapquest, if they still exist). You could still use Google Maps on Android devices. You could still get dedicated satnav apps from the likes of Tomtom.

So, you know, I don't particularly agree that it's Apple's crap-at-launch-but-forced-on-users-anyway map that's suddenly going to force Google to up their game. Despite the RDF, Apple aren't the only source of competition in town, and until they've gotten their maps up to a decent standard it's disingenuous to treat them as a more relevant competitor than everyone else in the field just because of the fruit-shaped logo involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

"No - Google maps always tended to get the location of major towns correct. Never mind minor land marks."

How old is Google Maps and it's STILL got tons of errors - actually try it and see how accurate the POIs are.

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Re: What do they need?

@AC 10:47

Interesting point you raise, there. Historically cartographers have introduced minor errors into their maps deliberately as a legal resource (ie if a competitor copied them outright, including the listing of the non-existent Bellend Street, they could be taken to court and asked to show their evidence for including said street in the absence of proof it existed...). I wonder if persistent minor errors in any current mapping service might be there deliberately for similar purposes?

I've been caught out by depending on google maps before - foolishly relied on postcode-based search for my hotel and ended up traipsing all across Bristol only to discover the hotel was, in fact, 5 minutes walk around the corner from the train station...

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Re: What do they need?

"Google maps was laughably bad when it was first released"

I've used it for many years and it's always got the location of towns correct. If it didn't - I'm sure there'd be plenty of stories still hanging around on the internet somewhere but I've somehow never seen those either. It's almost like it wasn't every anywhere near as shit as iOS maps which is the point I'm making.

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Re: What do they need?

Actually, ios6 addaption got an up turn after the introduction of the new google map. Seems to be many that have hold of from updating because of the maps failure.

Seems like Apple is using multiple "master data" records. When I use the maps an drop a pin where I live, it gets the address right. But when I then attach it to my contact info the address changes. The street address stays correct but city changes to a city area. But no such city exists so it then points more than 200km wrong into a field in middle of nowhere.

The pin you can navigate to without problems. Just don't store the info anywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they need?

"It's almost like it wasn't every anywhere near as shit as iOS maps which is the point I'm making.

House Rules" But is was worse! It seems better now, but it's taken a long time for Google to get it up to scratch. iOS maps isn't shit, its actually a very good app, however the data isn't great outside of major metropolitan areas globally, and will take time to improve, as it took (and is still taking) Google to sort out their mapping solution. Trouble is the Google borg want us all to be assimilated into the collective, so you're all telling us that Google maps was amazing from day 1. It simply wasn't.

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Thumb Down

You just can't get the staff these days

"The talks, reported by anonymous sources to the Wall Street Journal, are said to..."

If the rumours are true then either Apple or Foursquare has a senior member of staff who can't be trusted. What other stories have they been telling, what other trade secrets have they been selling?

Or perhaps they can be trusted, as the leaks were deliberate and authorised in an attempt to affect share values? Which again means someone can't be trusted, but possibly a different someone.

Whatever happened to the old values of honest in business?

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"Whatever happened to the old values of honest in business?"

They sold it.

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Re: You just can't get the staff these days

@Pen-y-gors

You're missing the possibility of low level staff having friendly arrangements with journalists. Cleaning staff, security, general-pool secretaries. Wouldn't surprise me if it were a leaked story to try and get Foursquare fans on board, but I don't really buy that - aside from anything else, Foursquare split ways with Google earlier in the year for the OpenStreetMap project instead, so (lure of large bags of cash aside) it's hard to see how that would cohere with jumping into bed with Apple, whose maps are anything but crowdsourced...

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At least this way

When the maps let you down and you get stuck in the middle of nowhere, you can share that fact with your friends - in fact you could offer a new badge, the more you get lost the higher up the rankings you go

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least this way

Clearly you missed this:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/technology/news/article/-/15610781/police-warn-of-safety-concerns-from-google-maps/

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Anonymous Coward

I welcome extra competition for Google - if Apple improve their product it will push Google to improve theirs. I've been comparing the two and it's bound not to be popular but Google Maps is hardly perfect with lots of businesses in the wrong place (often by around 1/2 mile) and some of the satellite maps are older than Apple as well.

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Silver badge
Trollface

Proof that Apple care for your privacy

Customers on iOS 6 who are worried about Maps and Foursquare integration in the next version of the OS can rest safe in the knowledge that the default behaviour is that nobody else will be able to find them.

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Anonymous Coward

Hehe

"Tool has just checked in.... to the middle of f*cking nowhere!"

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eh real question

When does apple get the balls to think their maps are good enough they kill off Google's maps app from the app store? Pretty sure that would set off Google talkin to the DOJ of clear anti-competitive practices.

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Silver badge
Stop

Give it a rest

First this is old news (reports have been wandering around the web since Monday).

Second Apple wanting improved POI data in Maps is a bad thing? They already give people the OPTION of integrating location etc into Facebook, Twitter etc. Providing this is also an option I can't see the problem.

Third the "location tracking" thing was mostly about Apple not deleting old WiFi base station data that it used for fast location fixes. This was data on the local device so hardly a massive privacy concern.

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Flame

Never lost alone!

Well, if they add an around me feature at least you can see all the other IOS users that are stuck in the middle of the outback with you!

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Coat

Re: Never lost alone!

Unfortunately, it'll probably report them (and you) as being 50 km off the coast of Hawaii

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They could really improve their map app

by making it so that when you hold the screen, and all the icons jiggle around so you can rearrange them, giving it a little 'x' button on it so you can DELETE IT FROM YOUR PHONE

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They could really improve their map app

http://au.news.yahoo.com/technology/news/article/-/15610781/police-warn-of-safety-concerns-from-google-maps/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They could really improve their map app

So your repeated posting is to insinuate that mislabeling a road as a one-way is as bad as stranding people in the middle of the Outback?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They could really improve their map app

People paint Apple as terrible as some people decide to rely entirely on a free satnav and leave a map and common sense behind - yet when another police department in Australia report serious safety concerns about the accuracy of Google Maps well that's no problem at all. All maps have errors - live with it.

I suspect the people saying all this have not actually tried Apple maps and are just jumping on the bandwagon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They could really improve their map app

"Sergeant Nick Buenen says trucks, buses and tourists are being directed down Wild Dog Road, which is a one-way track, not built for heavy traffic."

It says track not road - instantly you try and imply it's just a simple mistake when in reality the policy are concerned it has the serious potential for a major problem - "but if a 22-seater bus rolls off Wild Dog Road today".

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Anonymous Coward

Google Maps on iOS 5 was basic (apparently it was a Google issue not Apple) so surprise, surprise their 'app' is now much improved. I suspect they wanted to keep the mapping poor in relation to Android devices / wanted to charge too much for access to mapping and it's backfired.

Apple have taken some flak but then again they are +500m a year (and more as they sell more devices).

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Anonymous Coward

Google Maps on iOS 5 was also slow - much slower than Apple Maps. The Google 'app' appears to be quicker.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Suspect this is bollocks...

Since they already have 'find my friends'

But they really do need to update maps, of all the faults on the map around where i live, none have been fixed. I have reported all of them.

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Silver badge
Coat

Re: Suspect this is bollocks...

The problem with Apple maps was that the program they delivered did not always use the map data they bought in a proper way. trying to make this clear, it was not the maps but the programs not being able to deal with the data. Apple does not have any company or department producing maps.

Nokia bought one and there is at least one other doing maps. I am too lazy to search for their names.

Anyway, these companies rely on the updates and data received from different (state) sources in different countries. That data (new maps) is sometimes delayed sometimes simply wrong and sometimes just registered in a wrong way or simply forgotten. I suppose the, perhaps, biggest problem is that customers do not update their "what ever" device they use with the latest "maps".

Apple or Google are not responsible for any maps of this world, but Apple failed in using the maps they bought in a proper way. Nobody produces maps with the same town in different locations. You need a programmer to do that.

As far as I know, nor Apple or Google, have any satellites taking pictures either (all is not by satellites, of course). That data is also bought from different sources in different countries. That data can bee old or very old and then again it may be very new all depending on who does it or when. My view of my summer cottage must be say 10 years old, so what, it is taken in the spring and the old house has not moved since then. Good enough.

Street view, on the other hand, is Google only.

Apple "maps" was a failure caused by Apple, not by those who delivered the data, although there will always be errors in the data provided by those who deliver it, for various reasons.

I am quite sure Apple will be able to mend their programs at some point.

The only thing regarding Apple maps, that pisses me off, is that they did not have the strength to admit they focked up, right in the beginning.

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Bronze badge
Devil

Forgive me, and I'm no expert on the subject, but...

..doesn't Grindr do all this for you at the moment. Man, that would be a lawsuit I'd pay to watch. Pink on pink handbags at dawn!

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Happy

Apple maps was a smart business move.

It sells devices...... Because when you get lost using Apple maps, the only fuckers who will ever find you will need an Apple device to do it. ;-)

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"Apple have taken some flak but then again they are +500m a year (and more as they sell more devices)."

You seem to think that's a good thing. It might be if you're a shareholder, and only if Apple thinks it should share the savings with the shareholders and continue to issue dividends.

But if you're an isheep then those savings are not passed onto you in the form of lower device prices.

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