back to article Here WeGo! Google Maps rival drops Maps branding

Google’s only major consumer mapping rival, HERE, has dropped Maps from its app name in a bold rebranding exercise. After many hours in the Strategy Boutique, the map apps is now named after the ancient British football chant... Here We Go. The rebranding reflects HERE’s greater emphasis on route planning and directions, with …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Too much whalesong

    If you just search for "maps", you usually get a list of apps with maps in their name, of which HERE will be a high-ranking app, and the person searching might pick HERE after reading a few map app descriptions. Now that can't be done.

    If you search "here maps" that'll help narrow it down even more, it'll be the first result (unless Google sticks an ad for Waze in the top slot).

    Now if you just search "here" who knows what you could get. You're at the mercy of Google's algorithm. They might suddenly decide to give more weight to "here" in the app's description than the title.

    HERE Maps was a known name. The strategy boutique screwed up with that one.

  2. et tu, brute?
    WTF?

    Had a look, but...

    ...the permission details needed by the app are simply mad!

    Identity

    - Find accounts on the device

    - Read your own contact card

    Contacts

    - Read your contacts

    Location (this I can understand!)

    - Approximate location (network-based)

    - Precise location (GPS and network-based)

    SMS

    - Send SMS messages

    Phone

    - Read call log

    Photos/Media/Files

    - Modify or delete the contents of your SD card

    - Read the contents of your SD card

    Wi-Fi connection information

    - View Wi-Fi connections

    Bluetooth connection information

    - Access Bluetooth settings

    Device ID & call information

    - Read phone status and identity

    Other

    - Prevent phone from sleeping

    - Install shortcuts

    - Control vibration

    - View network connections

    - Full network access

    - Uninstall shortcuts

    - Change network connectivity

    - Pair with Bluetooth devices

    Updates to HERE WeGo may automatically add additional capabilities within each group.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Hmmm

    Can't see any footpaths :(

  4. Sampler

    I saw one of their mapping cars yesterday tootling around Sydney

    and by tootling I mean reversing back out of an ally that'd been closed off due to roadworks

  5. petur

    THERE

    If focus is on routing and destinations, maybe they should have re-branded to THERE

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: THERE

      Unfortunately the best name for mapping had already been taken by Northport Systems Inc.

      1. Fonant
        Meh

        Re: THERE

        Heh, I always thought that was pronounced foo-gar-wee... Far too innocent...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Had a look, but...

      Would be easier if apps displayed the permissions they didn't use.

    3. Locky Silver badge

      Re: Too much whalesong

      First 3 results from googling "here";

      maps.here.com

      GoogleApps link for maps.here.com

      iTunes link for maps.here.com

      It's almost like theres a way to pay to be top of a search list

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Too much whalesong

        I was talking about searching in the Play Store, not Google.

    4. fuzzie

      Re: Had a look, but...

      Given what it does, about the only odd permissions there are Phone Call Log and Contacts access. The rest is what you'd expect since you can associate your HERE account, share locations/progress, save maps, restrict updates/connectivity to Wifi only, create/delete destination shortcuts, and manage Bluetooth devices (external GPS or headset).

      Welcome to Android's shotgun style permissions model. At least with Marshmallow you can disable/disallow bits for features you don't use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Had a look, but...

        Getting access to contacts makes sense too - if you have an address saved to a contact this lets you navigate there without having to copy and paste the address between apps.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Had a look, but...

          And phone call log would allow you to select a recent call and get it to either lookup that caller in your contacts then get address from there or, perhaps, use Google's phone number lookup system to get an address.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Had a look, but...

        Log/Contacts/SMS are for Glympse apparently. I've never used it and I've disabled them in Privacy Guard.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Had a look, but...

        "Given what it does, about the only odd permissions there are Phone Call Log and Contacts access."

        It probably gives you the option phone the business or whatever you select as your destination. If I can be bothered to pair my Garmin with my phone, it will do that too. I don't pair it though, because then the phone can't be paired with the car and I'd much rather be able to use the phone through the car hifi system than through a barley audible satnav speaker and use the steering wheel buttons for the phone so I don't have to reach up to the satnav touch screen,

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Had a look, but...

      Doesn't bother me: I'm on Cyanogenmod so it only gets the permissions I give it.

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Too much whalesong

      Personally I think the new name is fine. They obviously want to get away from "maps" which, at least on Android, is most associated with Google.

      "Here Maps" was never a brilliant name and doesn't really suggest navigation – one thing Andrew didn't mention is that Here also does offline turn-by-turn navigation as good as TomTom in my limited experience – talking to non-native English speakers about "the navigation app called Here" is a bit like Abbott & Costello meeting "the artist formerly known as symbol": blank stares and exasperation.

      "Here We Go" isn't brilliant but it is catchy (and less cringy than something like "WhatsApp") so well done whoever came up with it. In a couple of months we won't care. Maybe they'll even rebrand it again to just "We go!" or "Let's go!". As long as they have sufficient promotional advertising it'll work fine.

    7. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      I do think I see a Pokémon. Will that help?

  6. Credas Silver badge

    There's a reason they're focusing on navigation

    It's what they're really good at - their app is great for driving, displaying all the information you need very clearly, including the current speed limit. It's why they've been bought to put their navigation software in all the major German car manufacturers' vehicles. If one of the things the Strategy Boutique said, before suggesting a stupid name, was "stick to your knitting" then they got that right, at least.

    OTOH their suggestions for local points of interest are pretty hit and miss, at least in my neck of the woods - presumably because they lack the depth of local knowledge that Google acquires through its search business - so maybe that's why they've given up pushing that aspect of it. Being directed to a "nearest" petrol station 10 miles away, and subsequently finding there were several others just around the corner, does not endear you to the app!

    1. Vic

      Re: There's a reason they're focusing on navigation

      all the information you need very clearly, including the current speed limit

      Does it have vehicle options?

      I've been driving a Renault van recently, with a *factory-fitted* GPS unit. And it gets the speed limits wrong on derestricted roads...

      Vic.

  7. Badvok
    Facepalm

    Check out here-we-go.org, I suspect the site is about to get a lot more traffic.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Shit on it and stir

    They supremely fucked up outdoor malls (where it's a couple dozen large separate buildings around a collection of parking lots) - they're treated as one big building now, and you need to click into them to find individual stores. It's now rather difficult to determine which building a store belongs to, which makes it difficult to find - the opposite of what a map app should do.

    Oh well, now that offline maps actually works in Google Maps, they're a mostly-useless emergency backup. If they start popping up tons of ads and crap, they're gone.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    And it sucks, because I've used HERE for years, since Google Maps would freeze with T-Mobile's spotty coverage in rural Florida. They saved my butt several times. I'm sad to see them turn to crap.

    1. fuzzie

      They do have a feedback button/contact. I've used it once or twice and have seen at least one recommendation/suggestion make it into the app. Of course it could've been on the to-do list before.

      HERE saved my butt when I discovered Android's locations (without which Google Maps freezes up waiting forever) doesn't work without an active SIM (roaming got messed up) and I could use HERE as electronic map and compasses to find my way.

  10. Neil 44

    maps.me (from my.com BV) is a free, completely offline (once you've downloaded the maps of your choice...) mapping and routing app (Android - don't know about iOS..). Uses OpenStreetMap - so if its wrong, you can correct it. Likewise it has lots of detail available (like house names for the blocks of flats in East London!)

    (and yes, @Will Godfrey, it does show foot and bridal paths!)

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      and yes, @Will Godfrey, it does show foot and bridal paths

      Bridle paths. Bridal paths are, I assume, a route to matrimony, and are not normally shown on maps.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Horses for courses: I have both Osmand and Here. If you're driving then good turn-by-turn navigation with optional traffic information is a godsend. I know OSM does navigation, but I don't think it compares well to the big boys.

      On the other hand, if you're in the middle of nowhere on your bike and want to get to the next road, then something that knows all the footpaths is just what the doctor ordered. You can also load up GPX.

      Both apps let you store the relevant maps on an SD card so the world is pretty much your lobster.

  11. Doctor_Wibble
    Trollface

    Fire everyone!

    There is no 'h' in " 'ere we go ".

    And if it's only written once then that's twice that it's wrong. In triplicate.

  12. thesykes

    Download size

    A little more granularity on the download options would be preferable. Lumping all of Europe together into a 10,337 MB file means that I can download precisely no maps, leaving Google's download-the-bits-you-want option as infinitely better for me.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Download size

      On my phone, I get choice of which constituent nations of UK I want. I'd have assumed similar for Europe...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Download size

      I suggest you read further than the first line when you go to Download Maps > Download More > Europe.

      1. thesykes

        Re: Download size

        @Dan 55....Thanks... I think Here need to look at their UI. There's no indication that pressing Europe will do anything other than download all of Europe.. maybe a little + or arrow would indicate that there are more options. It's only when you then see some countries with the download option and others blank that you realise how it works.

        It is clear why they've changed the name. It can't be used as a map! One of the functions I use most on Google Maps is just looking where something is, especially in foreign countries. Something on the news, a travel programme, etc. Just a quick search and I know where it is. Here doesn't do that. It only provides directions, something it simply cannot do where you have to fly to get there. New York? Sydney? Nope, can't find a route so won't show you where they are.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Download size

        I just checked. Europe then gives me these

        Albania 86 Mb, Andorra 46.6 Mb, Austria 278 Mb, Belarus 133Mb, Belgium 306 MB all the way down to Varucan City 71 Mb

        France Germany Italy Spain, Russia are subvided into smaller sections.

        This is on the app on Windows Phone 8.1 though...

  13. Battsman
    FAIL

    I don't care what it's named...

    because it still sucks at.... directions.

    I tried to use it twice over the past few months and I'm seriously boggled by the routes it selects. Maybe it's because I'm in the US or something, but the directions were rubbish. Yes, let's drive through the most congested parts of St. Louis to get to the other side of town AND THEN take almost 100% back roads instead of divided highways with 65+ MPH zones.

    *BOGGLE*

    The good news is the permissions don't matter - it's been deleted with prejudice.

  14. Keef
    Joke

    I've been...

    I've been using Google Drive for my navigation.

    It's bloody useless, I keep going round in circles.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have thought TomTom was more competitive than Here. Once Nokia bought them they basically stopped any consumer slant.

  16. The humble print monkey

    knowledge of crowds

    The more data you acquire, with a feedback loop, and suitable analisys, the better the potential result. An article not so long ago talked about how long it would take for a contender to overtake google in the mapping game.

    The greater the number of people who use wHere, the better the data, the greater the value for the owners.

    Getting us non BMW owners to increase the quantity and quality of that data is, I think, a win-win both for users like me, as well as owners of big shineys.

    Let the data get good enough, and with sufficient reference points it will, and there is the basis of the dataset needed for the self driving auto-monsters.

    I suspect there will be a two or more tier product - that which is free, and that which is bundled, but in the short term, Here isn't building its business model on selling the user.

    Just my (recently devalued) £0.02.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor quality data

    Here Maps are pretty bad, nowhere near as bad as Apple Maps, but still pretty bad. It's far away from the quality of Google mapa

  18. Lyle Dietz

    Too bad the routing is absolute pants. It is supposed to be traffic aware, but it sent me crawling along the motorway before I gave up, dived down the next exit and asked Google to take me to my destination.

    The only thing I like about HERE is the speed limit knowledge (when accurate) and that it shows my current GPS speed.

  19. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Surely I'm not the only one to notice...

    <b3ta mode>

    Surely I'm not the only one to notice the big yellow cock-and-balls in the middle of the photo at the top of the article?!?!

    </b3ta mode>

  20. AlanT1

    Rather good as a navigation tool.

    I have, for some time, used an android app for navigation on my bike. It is pretty essential and HERE seems to be about as good as you can get. I can here the Google maps lovers ready to hit back and my life would be so much simpler if I could use Google (a mapping service I contribute to) but off line maps is a must for me.

    Having said that HERE is slow to update and act on input but until the day whole maps can be downloaded for Google for off line use it will remain a back up service when mobile.

    1. Dick Knuckle

      Re: Rather good as a navigation tool.

      Im not a Google fan per se...but I do find it irksome that people claim products xant do somethi g when all they had to do was RTFM.

      Google Maps has always had offline features. I use it regularly.

      https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6291838?hl=en

  21. Aging Hippy

    Les Barker fans will be singing this already

    http://www.lyrics.com/user/playlist_play/1715149/0/0

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