back to article Streetmap loses appeal against Google Maps dominance judgement

Streetmap has lost its application to appeal against last year’s High Court judgement that Google did nothing wrong by promoting its own Maps product above Streetmap’s. “The bully boys won the day,” said Streetmap, immediately after the judgement was delivered. “This is a sad day for the internet.” Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, …

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  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    For maps of Great Britain Streetmap is what I always recommend. Google may have satellite imagery but for anyone able to read maps Streetmap gives a much better view of the lie of the land. I usually prefer its placename search although it does have a few quirks. It's a great pity it doesn't extend into Ireland, not even N Ireland.

    1. Credas Silver badge

      It depends what you want. If you want a specialised A-to-Z style road map then Streetmap is definitely the one to go for. For general purpose mapping, including satellite overlays, then Google Maps is better. Personally I think it would be a bit daft if a road map was presented as part of a general search in preference to a general purpose one, unless the user had specified that in the search term.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "f you want a specialised A-to-Z style road map then Streetmap is definitely the one to go for. For general purpose mapping, including satellite overlays, then Google Maps is better."

        Specialised A-Z mapping doesn't have contour mapping. Streetmap has the OS maps. Maybe you were just looking at the name.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Exactly. Streetmap compete and win on quality. They have actual real proper maps, not the crayoned mess that is Google Maps.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Don't be silly. OSM may be better (though I think it's quite subjective) but GM are clearly quite good by objective standards for most use-cases.

        1. find users who cut cat tail

          > GM are clearly quite good by objective standards for most use-cases.

          I doubt you have ever seen a good map.

          A typical non-city-centre area:

          GM -- some rough grey and green polygons, streams, a couple of roads. Useless.

          OSM -- more or less the same as GM plus vegetation type, protected localities, much more roads and paths, some points of interest. Possibly usable, but it depends.

          mapy.cz (our national competitor) -- more or less the same as OSM plus contour lines, marked tourist and cycling paths, nature trails, spot heights, rocks, dozens of points of interests, many more small paths, local names, springs, shelters, caves, monuments, every bloody cross beside the road, ... So people actually use it as an outdoor map.

          In city centres GM is better, but then again OSM becomes much better there. For example, GM does not bother to show paths in parks, except the largest ones.

          Also, GM is slow as hell. Objectively.

          1. find users who cut cat tail

            Nice to see the downvotes coming... I understood you are enraged if you realised your map options are all crap compared to what people in a puny East European country enjoy. It is hardly my fault but... Whatever. Be enraged if it helps. You cannot take our superior map service from me.

            1. streaky Silver badge

              Nice to see the downvotes coming... I understood you are enraged if you realised your map options are all crap compared to what people in a puny East European country enjoy. It is hardly my fault but... Whatever. Be enraged if it helps. You cannot take our superior map service from me.

              Get over yourself it's just openstreemap's data rebranded.

        2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          @JDX & others

          This is about streetmap.co.uk not OpenStreetMap.org

      2. Captain Boing

        what a stupid, identi-kit slap at big corp. - GM is far from a "crayoned mess" ya goit!

        People vote with their feet, if GM wasn't fit, no-one would use it and it would die. Everyone slags off starbucks for the same reason - fact: Their coffee is good and appeals to a LOT of people.

        GM is the same. I prefer their clean looking profile over Streetmaps dated A-Z look. If I need more streets go to the OS Explorer maps and the times I have used streetview to scope out a destination so i actually know what i am looking for when i get there is a great use of tech... I know that google are not doing this out of some altruistic ethos... in the same way i know TV programs are just something t keep me hooked in-between advert breaks.

        Google got big because they are good at what they do. You might not like what they do (they are very creepy) but to keep us hooked they provide some nice trinkets.

        I am not saying they would not exploit their position to further their own cause - just like vauxhall or ford recommending their own parts when you get your car serviced. It happens all the time.

      3. Captain Boing

        @ J.G.Harston

        Just noticed - you have a history of slagging off google maps here. Bet you are a fanboi

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >For maps of Great Britain Streetmap is what I always recommend.

      I know it isn't fashionable around here but....

      Bing offers OS maps - change the default display format from 'Road' to 'Ordnance survey'.

      It's about the only thing I use Bing for...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I did hear that someone was using Bing. Welcome.

    4. Planty Bronze badge
      FAIL

      This is a great day for the internet, the better, more useful product appeared higher up in the search results. The fact is was a search company that provided the search and the maps, that's totally irreverent. If the product is better, then it deserves to be higher ranked.

      If I search for an Office Suite, Office365 is way higher than Google Docs...

    5. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Monopoly abuse

      In my opinion, to be accurately characterised as "monopoly abuse", there must be third party collusion. The idea that merely favouring your own products on your own service is somehow an "abuse" is ridiculous. Google favouring Google Maps on Google Search is no less than I'd expect. If Streetmap wants preferential treatment then it needs to run its own competing service to Google Search, but demanding that a competitor favour your product over their own, or even give it equal consideration, is just silly.

      Actual abuse would be, for example, contractually forcing third party OEMs to exclude competing operating systems, as Microsoft did. Whereas OS vendors have no reasonable expectation of Microsoft promoting competing operating systems, they do have the reasonable expectation that companies entirely unconnected to Microsoft don't exclude them at the behest of another competitor.

      That's the difference between mere dominance and actual abuse.

    6. streaky Silver badge

      Streetmap has nice maps (they're Ordnance Survey maps so no shit..) - but the UI is bad and always has been (swear it hasn't been updated since the 90's, you can do better pulling map serving code Open Source off the shelf for gratis) and the data contained within the maps is badly digitised (or rather completely lacks it excepting advertising). Only sensible alternative to google maps is Open Streetmap where satellite imagery isn't a thing - the maps are of high quality, cover the planet (well, y'know) and all the data is very well digitised.

      The idea that merely favouring your own products on your own service is somehow an "abuse" is ridiculous

      Microsoft and Apple will be pleased to hear it, and they thank you for your service.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    The bitter taste-

    -of sour grapes. 2/10 try harder next time...

    Confucius says: Man who rest on laurels gets twigs up bum.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The bitter taste-

      How do you think Chrome got where it is today?

      Yes, by being pushed by the search engine.

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: The bitter taste-

        No. Chrome is actually decent. You can't simply pretend it isn't.

        I say this while typing in a Firefox I'll have to eventually restart due to ever increasing hitching caused by memory management issues they still haven't sorted out, which is currently eating 8Gb of VM.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: The bitter taste-

          You are definitely doing something wrong. Probably some add-on.

          Link and link, both from December. Firefox uses less memory than Chrome.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: The bitter taste-

            At first FF uses less memory than Chrome, sure. Give it some time, open and close a lot of tabs, and it grows... and grows... and grows. I've never used Chrome, so I can't say if it does it too, but it's been a normal part of FF for as long as I can remember.

          2. Daggerchild Silver badge

            Re: The bitter taste-

            "Firefox uses less memory than Chrome"

            It's not that that actually gets in my face - I installed more memory in this machine just to make my multiple firefoxes with different profiles, each with many many tabs, usable for more than a couple of hours.

            The problem is the hitching. Every couple of se... conds it sto..ps doing anythi....ng which can to...tally ruin your typ...ing, scrolling, and means clicks m...ay not go where you thought.

            Amusingly, one of the things that used to *seriously* hitch the browser were those HP countdown adverts in the Reg sidebars :) I'd had to delete the ad's node if I wanted to scroll smoothly.

            When I dug into the issue it only affects people like me who have a squillion active tabs for very long periods of time. It's something to do with the structure it uses to track objects getting unbalanced because of something they didn't realise they should have been tracking to keep it in balance. A firefox engineer going "Oh. Hrm. Hrrrrrrrrm. Ew." was where I saw the bug investigation last.

        2. paulf Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: The bitter taste-

          @Daggerchild "I say this while typing in a Firefox I'll have to eventually restart due to ever increasing hitching caused by memory management issues they still haven't sorted out, which is currently eating 8Gb of VM."

          I have used FF since the 0.9 beta (I think) and prefer it (FF works well with ABP while Chrome has the blanket Google tracking plus the new creepy Bluetooth APIs) but you're right on memory. My home FF installation regularly gets to 4GB now making it slow to a crawl until I restart it. It's improved in the last couple of versions but still not where it should be.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just say no to Google

    No more spying on you

    No more adverts about stuff you don't want

    No more adverts for places you have just left.

    Oh bliss.

    And you are not the product.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Just say no to Google

      Sadly, streetmap.co.uk can't even do that properly - they use Google Analytics!

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @AC Re: Just say no to Google

      Just say no to Google?

      Really?

      Its much harder than you think.

      To prove it... if you run NoScript, take a look at what scripts every site you visit have in common. They all have Google Analytics.

      Why doesn't El Reg remove this script? They have Alasdair Dobbs who could probably cobble up their own analytics package and keep their site stats in house. So why don't they do this?

      In fact why doesn't any of the other commercial sites do this?

      That would be a very good article for any tech magazine to write.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: @AC Just say no to Google

        Because then they'd have to pay Dabbs (I assume you mean) to put in the hours for development (lets say 120 hours at 100 GBP/hour = 12.000 GBP. And 3 weeks is probably a MASSIVE underestimate). Instead they can also grab an off the shelf product already fully developed that doesn't even need extra resources to run and costs "nothing" (to them atleast). Gee, I wonder why they choose to use Google Analytics...

        --> I doubt Dabbsy would work for just a few of these -->

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: @AC Just say no to Google

          I wonder what proportion of Register readers block Google Analytics? At what point is it worth writing your own that's less likely to be blocked?

      2. stu 4

        Re: @AC Just say no to Google

        not really - ghostery removes all tracking scripts for me.

        adblock removes all ads.

        startpage provides a great search.

        bing or streetmap when I need maps.

        So really not hard at all imho.

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    “Google denied it was dominant in the online search market,” said Lord Justice Jones

    Seriously?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Google denied it was dominant in the online search market,” said Lord Justice Jones.

      Either that's a typo, or Google should be prosecuted for contempt, how can they possibly justify that?

    2. Rikkeh

      Yes they did. But this trial wasn't about that.

      Abuse of dominance requires two elements: dominance and abuse. Both sides accepted having the Court decide first whether or not Google's behaviour was abusive. Given that the Court (rightly, I think) determined that the behaviour wasn't abusive, there was no need to decide whether or not Google was dominant.

      Given that (because the Court found there was no abuse) Streetmap would've have still lost regardless of the finding (or not) of dominance. It would've therefore likely been on the hook for the costs incurred in all the argument about Google's dominance whether or not it had won on dominance. So you can see why Streetmap accepted the splitting off of the abuse point to be decided as a preliminary issue to the main trial.

    3. Mongo
      Headmaster

      That's why QCs cost so much

      I couldn't tell that lie with a straight face, nor would I have the bare -faced effrontery to think I could get away with it.

  5. disco_stu

    I just had a look at the Streetmaps page, looks like it hasn't evolved for about 10 years.

    When you do zoom into the maps they are better than the Google maps, for example better use of colours for different road types but lack of scroll wheel zoom, the small mapping window are something that should have been ditched as soon as Google Maps came out.

    1. mdava

      I just had a look at the Streetmaps page, looks like it hasn't evolved for about 10 years.

      I agree entirely. There are some things to like about Streetmap (and I used to use it back in the day before Google started doing maps) but overall Google Maps is in a completely different league.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        but overall Google Maps is in a completely different league

        Yes, the Crown Paints Conference League.

    2. Les Matthew

      "lack of scroll wheel zoom"

      Works for me in Pale Moon.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Has everyone forgotten? - Google maps do THREE - FRICKEN - D !

        I dont care how much prettier your OS road colour scheme is - turning satellite pictures into a useable 3d view is sufficiently close to magic for me!

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Has everyone forgotten? - Google maps do THREE - FRICKEN - D !

          Yes. And now you've reminded us, we can all forget again.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I just had a look at the Streetmaps page, looks like it hasn't evolved for about 10 years."

      I also agree with your post. Most of my requirements for mapping are when I'm out and about, which means a 5" phone screen or an 11" netbook, neither of which work well with Streepmaps clunky 1990's thick borders interface. The maps are nice, but I have a problem with where I live. Streemaps says my street doesn't exist, ie "not found" in a search using "street name, town". Google maps doesn't show the street name, but a search does actually return a correct result and put the marker in the right place. Both work with a postcode, but that's not really the point, is it Is it a new build, I hear you ask? Depends on your perspective I suppose. The street's only been around since about 1890!

      For the last 25 years, the actual named street has been pedestrianised and Streetmap clearly shows it as an unnamed footpath while Google maps shows the houses and nondescript grey "blankness" where the road used to be.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use a number of mapping service quite often. Streetmap is the only one of the big ones that accepts OS grid references (and it can display on an OS 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 map). Other than that it doesn't provide much, no directions, no satellite imagery, it hasn't really moved on in 10 years of using it.

    Here maps gives has many of the same features as Google maps but has much more up to date satellite imagery for many places that I look at and has a great offline app mapping app for Android.

    Overall Google gets my vote, even though its satellite imagery is often extremely out of date 10 years+ old., and it doesn't recognise grid refs. It has a good terrain, 3d view, the 3d buildings look great, directions and traffic information seems to be some of the best in my area (better than Waze, but doesn't have the real-time alerts of Waze). However it is becoming impossible to get get updates approved on map maker so a lot of data is getting stale.

    1. Def Silver badge

      I think you'll find the traffic information on Google Maps is lifted straight from Waze. (Google bought them back in 2013.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I think you'll find the traffic information on Google Maps is lifted straight from Waze"

        Not sure it is. Alerts are sometimes lifted from Waze, however traffic information has been in Google maps for a lot longer than Waze. Google looks at traffic speeds based upon users continuously and therefore most of the time it will show me traffic flows that are fairly accurate. Waze seems to rely on the user reporting traffic issues and therefore, at least in most areas where I am, is less accurate, mostly showing free flowing traffic. When you alert with Waze it just marks between you and the next junction, so you have to keep adding alerts as you progress.

        I generally use Waze for my daily commute (for speed cameras and to alert others), but I'll check Google for traffic before I leave and if I hit traffic, to see how long I'm likely to be stuck in it.

        1. ChrisC

          Going slightly off-topic here, but as Waze is something I have a particular interest in...

          The Google buy-out of Waze was done in a way that maintained an arms-length seperation between the two companies. Other than the occasional traffic/incident alert appearing in Google Maps tagged with Waze as its source, and the slightly better integration of some Google products within the Waze environment, the two pretty much run independently of one another.

          So yes, Google generate their own realtime traffic flow data via a combination of third party feeds where available, plus the location data returned from Android phones where such data hasn't been switched off by the user - its this latter data which gives Google Maps such good quality traffic flow data on side roads where the likes of Trafficmaster et al pay no attention.

          However, Waze do pretty much the exact same thing. Every phone running the Waze app is sending back realtime data to the Waze servers, allowing them to build up the same sort of dynamic traffic flow picture as Google have. The main difference between Waze and Google here is that in the Waze app, traffic is generally only highlighted if it's moving slower than usual for that section of road at that time of day, so if Waze is showing no traffic highlights it doesn't mean the road ahead is clear, it only means the road ahead is flowing at least as well as Waze knows it usually flows. It could be completely stationary, but if that's normal for the time of day then it won't warrant a highlight...

          Not the most human-friendly bit of UI design (something I've mentioned to the Waze devs on more than one occasion over the years), but from the perspective of the routing algorithms it does make sense, and if you're using Waze as the devs intend it to be used (i.e. always following a suggested route) then you do start to learn to trust that it's already taken all of the traffic it's aware of into account when deciding which route to offer you, and that if it still ends up directing you into the mother and father of all jams that wasn't shown onscreen then it's more likely that it really was the least worst option available, as opposed to it doing so because it really had no idea the jam was there.

        2. Chris 125

          You're absolutely right - Google offered traffic flow information prior to buying Waze based on the relative speeds of any handsets running maps that were travelling on that road.

          It was on far fewer roads back then, it now even offers to tell me what the traffic is like on a local road that's little more than a rutted track. I presume a farmer drives down there with Google Maps running in the background every so often.

          1. AmenFromMars

            "You're absolutely right - Google offered traffic flow information prior to buying Waze based on the relative speeds of any handsets running maps that were travelling on that road."

            Are you sure? I think you'll find the mobile phone companies sell anonymised location data of all mobile phones which is why their traffic info is so good.

            Anyone remember Multimap?

            1. Chris 125

              Yup, I'm sure.

              Carrier data is all about the servers you connect to ("Someone who shopped on Ocado also drives an Audi, so let's target Audi dealerships with Ocado offers" etc), the areas you've been, number of social media sites you connect to etc.

              The location data isn't good enough to drive traffic maps, since it's working from cell towers. Your phone is not constantly sending fine detail location back to your carrier. Google Maps updates every 30s or so, and can tell you whether a traffic jam starts one side of a junction or the other - that ain't cell tower info.

    2. mdava

      ... even though its satellite imagery is often extremely out of date 10 years+ old.

      I love this comment (to be clear I'm not disputing it or mocking the AC) but isn't it incredible that we can see unbelievably detailed imagery of essentially every single place in the world, zoom in and out, see changes over decades, Street View for ground level view etc etc?

      My mum can remember the first radio that her parents bought!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        google maps and streetview

        Are so out of date where I live it is a joke.

        There are whole main roads missing from the maps.

        Road numbers are wrong even down to thinking that a 'C' class road is an 'A' class.

        It is any wonder that HGV's come past my house and get stuck. The Rat run was sealed off 12+ years ago.

        Yet still they keep on coming.

        As for Streetview, it shows a car in my drive that I sold in 2010.

        Next door does not even exist (built in 2012).

        Streetmap shows the rat run as it is now, a dead end.

        YMMV

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: google maps and streetview are so out of date

          Did you report this to Google to see if they would fix it?

          My mantra at work: I can't fix what I don't know is broke.

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