back to article 'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

“The thing that snookered us came eight years after the event,” Kate Sutton of Streetmap told The Register late last week, following the High Court’s ruling that Google’s manipulation of search results did not destroy her business despite that being exactly what happened. Streetmap, the online mapping service, lost its High …

  1. Known Hero
    Unhappy

    My condolences.

    Although not on the same scale, it felt like it at the time, I have gone up against insurance companies in the courts (without lawyers) and it is a horrifying scary endeavour, which just makes you want to bury your head in the sand on a daily basis.

    I congratulate her for being able to stand up against what is wrong and I am sad justice has yet again been somewhat blind to honesty.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: My condolences.

      Justice isn't blind to honesty, it just gets a helping hand from whoever has the biggest wallet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My condolences.

      Lesson 1: You may be right, but that doesn't mean you're going to win in court.

      I can tell you a couple of stories where judges have gotten it wrong, even in appellate court. If you have deep enough pockets, you can continue to fight, but at some point.. you have to know when to suck it up and move on. Trust me, I've been there.

      The truth about maps... Streetmap doesn't make their own maps. That hurts them. Google initially bought data / maps from Tele-Atlas and Navteq. Until they decided to make their own and added streetview which Navteq also offered. (And then there's the whole thing with LIDAR. Google recruiters were all over the phones in Navteq's Randolph Street offices.)

      In terms of maps, you have Google, HERE, Apple, and Tele-Atlas. Streetmap would rank below Tele-Atlas. Sorry.

      IMHO, Streetmaps needed better lawyers and should have sued Google in Texas. ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You rate Here?

        HERE? Are you joking. They wanted £160+ per year for SatNav updates. I can buy a TomTom or Garmin for less than that. For less than two years HERE subs I can buy a TomTom with updates for the life of the device.

        The maps in the SatNav are effing awful to boot. Eg, does not show the A25 running from Guilford to Dorking until you zoom in a long way.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: You rate Here?

          "HERE? Are you joking. They wanted £160+ per year for SatNav updates."

          Since when? Last I checked, Here and its maps were free on Android.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: You rate Here?

            HERE Maps on Android

            Free, but I am rapidly running out of patience with it. It used to be that you could set the voice option to "None", and that setting would be preserved between updates of the App. At some point, they changed it such that it would not preserve the setting and would default to the voice option after an update. Sometimes it's not preserved the setting between invocations either.

            And the response from HERE support:

            "yes, for every update the option "none" for the voice needs to be re-saved."

            I guess that's the "price" of "free"

            Pity, the Nokia maps on the N9 were good, free of gimmicks. The only point I could fault was that the device was somewhat underpowered for the app, and could not keep pace at times, especially at roundabouts.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You rate Here?

          @AC

          Where you think Garmin gets their map data?

          Hint. Its HERE.

          1. Not That Andrew

            Re: You rate Here?

            That certainly explains why the maps on Garmin's consumer GPS's are slightly pants

        3. Jobacon

          Re: You rate Here?

          Googlemaps are awful! I often resort to Streetfinder to find the true route. I have TWICE been so badly misled by the inaccuracy of Google maps that I missed a meeting, wandering completely the wrong way. They also invented a tube station in Ludgate Circus!

        4. Julifriend

          Re: You rate Here?

          "HERE? Are you joking. They wanted £160+ per year for SatNav updates. I can buy a TomTom or Garmin for less than that. For less than two years HERE subs I can buy a TomTom with updates for the life of the device."

          That's a very expensive Sat Nav! My Garmin with lifetime updates cost £79.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: My condolences.

        "Streetmap doesn't make their own maps."

        No. They use OS maps instead.

        Somehow Google never seem to get round to little details like contouring and such like. The irony of all this is that Google's maps really are just street maps. Streetmap's maps are maps of the terrain. No contest in my view.

        1. R 11

          Re: My condolences.

          "The irony of all this is that Google's maps really are just street maps. Streetmap's maps are maps of the terrain. No contest in my view."

          Of course, you could turn on the terrain view in Google Maps - https://goo.gl/maps/UCJNtm4zhVu

          Certainly it's not the same as an OS map, but topographic details are certainly there. At least in the US, this data has been available for a decade.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: My condolences.

            @R 11

            Certainly it's not the same as an OS map, but topographic details are certainly there. At least in the US, this data has been available for a decade.

            For OS maps of Blighty, you can switch the view in Bing

            https://binged.it/2l1402K

            (of course, for higher resolution, you'd need to use the OS site/App)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My condolences.

          "The irony of all this is that Google's maps really are just street maps. Streetmap's maps are maps of the terrain."

          Which should tell you simple, clear street maps were what people wanted most of the time. Still are, especially when navigating by car. Early Google maps features were about finding addresses and not much more.

          And I can't possible agree Streetmaps tech was better. It was painfully clunky to use.

      3. Wunderbar1

        Re: My condolences.

        Agree. I doubt that Google won maps solely because of search rank. There was a fair amount of effort and resources, e.g. Google streetview, that went into Google being king of the map mountain. Also, unless you believe that Google had some obligation to promote a competitive product on one of their other products over their own product, I don't see any foul here. Google is going to bring up geo queries with a Google geo result first. Like Bing brings up a Bing Maps result first instead of a Google Maps result first (I presume, not sure anyone has ever tested it). It is kind of like saying that I invented some DB acceleration tool, which would have been huge if Oracle had promoted it first within their DB instead of embedding their own acceleration tool in order to make their DB a better product.

        1. Ptol

          Re: My condolences.

          Monopolies do have an obligation to not use a monopoly in one market sector to obtain a monopoly in another market. Google are very much at risk of accusations that they abuse their search monopoly to obtain market share in other markets, and they no doubt have lawyers trying to make this area of law as muddy as possible and then get governments to rewrite such laws in their favour.

    3. tr1ck5t3r

      Re: My condolences.

      Monopoly laws might apply. And if they dont, theres an area of law which could be modified to reflect the change.

      The basic premise of a search engine ranking is it work on whats the most popular, but then Google applies some algo's which promote or demote certain sites matched to search terms, see the Ted.com talk on "Beware your Filter Bubble".

      So just like Google famously demotes anti-Semitic websites, it can do the same for other websites.

      Did anyone expect a Judge who is little more than a dictator of law, be anything but biased when the legal profession is on its knees due to the cut back of legal aid?

      The judge almost certainly has a tie with Google either directly or indirectly, now or in the future.

      Perhaps he is being blackmailed by the local lodge or even Google itself! After all Google has been recording everything since the 1990's.

      Blackmail the 2nd oldest profession in the world.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: My condolences.

        "Monopoly laws might apply"

        In particular the ones relating to a company leveraging its dominance in ONE area of the market to obtain a dominant position in OTHER parts of the market.

        That one is so painfully obvious that I'm sure Streetmap's lawyers pulled it up, but I've never seen judges rule that doing so is ok because of the "consumer benefit" before.

    4. Mark 65

      Re: My condolences.

      To be fair, the responsiveness and ability to drag to scroll was what switched me from Streetmap to Google. The natural language search just topped it off. Streetmap was great at first, very useful, but the problem with being one of the first is that you need to keep innovating because the challenger can see what they have to beat - you get no such insight into them. They didn't innovate in my opinion and died on their arse for usability reasons.

  2. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Flame

    "Don't be evil".

    Nope. This may not be pure evil, but it was definitely well along the road...

    1. Goldmember

      At the risk of sounding controversial...

      ... I don't agree. Yes, the idea that Google isn't the "dominant" search engine is ludicrous. But so what? Does that mean Google has a responsibility for smaller companies, to stop them going out of business?

      Google made a competing product (which may or may not have been better than the competition). It promoted its own product, ranking it higher on its own network than those of the competition. The competition subsequently lost market share.

      This is just business. Build a product. Promote the product effectively. Grow the business. Eat up or destroy the competition. If you're clever, gain monopoly status (or get close to it). If Google had used underhanded tactics to take down Streetmap then fair enough, there's a case to answer. But simply promoting its own product over the competition, on its own website? I'd say that's just tough titties.

      1. Grunchy

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        This sounds like another 'who moved my cheese' lesson.

      2. joekhul

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        Don't try that sort of "logical" thinking @ El Trumpland. This site has been on the tank side for awhile, and now that King Blowhard has been elected the fall down the shaft has been fast and furious.

        Trying to explain to Regtards why a company shouldn't have to promote other people's products over it's own is like trying to explain to a Trump-ite why the earth isn't flat. Wall meet head!

      3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Eat up or destroy the competition.

        Life is less binary than this.

        Why is it that the only perceived options in the world are to eat up, destroy, or be destroyed? Survival of the fittest doesn't mean destroying everything else, because if you did there would be nothing to eat.

        A bit of altruism goes a long way, and this could arguably have resulted in Google ending up getting a far superior product down the line. Not possible now as the bridges have been burned.

        Monopolies bring with them their own problems.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Eat up or destroy the competition.

          "Why is it that the only perceived options in the world are to eat up, destroy, or be destroyed? Survival of the fittest doesn't mean destroying everything else, because if you did there would be nothing to eat."

          Because if you don't destroy the competition, some of them will start beating you to your lunch, meaning you don't get to eat, either. I mean, that's how it works in most other parts of nature. And we're still part of nature. Sure, there are some who would demand that businesses cater to their fellow man first (and if they can't make a buck while doing so, they're in the wrong line of work according to them), but businesses are just extensions of people, and people still have primal instincts such as to live, reproduce, and so on. What goes on beyond their little tribe (and remember, humans are more tribal than social),as long as they're not in the way, isn't really their concern. After all, a little altruism has as much chance of turning against you as going forward.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anomalous Cowshed

          Re: Eat up or destroy the competition.

          Excuse me but the problem is that Google has a near monopoly on searching.

          Therefore google is in a position of dominance, de facto controlling most Internet users' access to information about products and services.

          Therefore google has a legal obligation to report search results neutrally, else it is abusing its dominant position.

          Otherwisewhat is to stop Google from setting up any kind business and using its dominant position as a source of information ("search engine") to unfairly overcome the competition and drive them out of business?

      4. eesiginfo

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        ---- It promoted its own product, ranking it higher on its own network than those of the competition. The competition subsequently lost market share. -----

        NO!

        It's not supposed to work like that.

        When providing access to the data, you're not supposed to manipulate the access in favour of your other products.

        Remember windows and browsers?

        The concept is to prevent one corporation dominating everything.

        ... but it looks like this concept is failing.

      5. Twilight

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        >>>This is just business. Build a product. Promote the product effectively. Grow the business. Eat up or destroy the competition. If you're clever, gain monopoly status (or get close to it). If Google had used underhanded tactics to take down Streetmap then fair enough, there's a case to answer. But simply promoting its own product over the competition, on its own website? I'd say that's just tough titties.<<<

        Nope. Actually this is exactly what the laws are SUPPOSED to prevent. Google clearly had (and has) the dominant search engine. They (according to Streetmap) used this position to then promote another completely different area of their business to the detriment of (supposedly) superior companies in that area of business.

        Assuming what Streetmap is saying is true, this is basically exactly what Microsoft lost its antitrust case for (bundling IE (and other software) into Windows for no reason other than to promote its own product at the expense of other companies because it had the dominant OS).

      6. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        "Google made a competing product (which may or may not have been better than the competition). It promoted its own product, ranking it higher on its own network than those of the competition. The competition subsequently lost market share.

        This is just business. Build a product. Promote the product effectively. Grow the business. Eat up or destroy the competition. If you're clever, gain monopoly status (or get close to it). If Google had used underhanded tactics to take down Streetmap then fair enough, there's a case to answer. But simply promoting its own product over the competition, on its own website? I'd say that's just tough titties."

        That's business. Illegal business as defined by abuse of dominant position.

      7. newt123456

        Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

        This is like saying, I'll buy major parts of the highway, and then saying you cannot drive on it, because I don't want you to (I only want my cars to get to work on time). You have to walk to work.

        1. Goldmember

          Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

          "This is like saying, I'll buy major parts of the highway, and then saying you cannot drive on it, because I don't want you to (I only want my cars to get to work on time). You have to walk to work."

          No, it's more like saying "This is my highway. So there's a dedicated lane for my cars. The rest of you are welcome to use my highway, but you can fight it out in the other lanes. Or use a competing highway."

          Again, I don't see a problem. On a personal and moral level it may be dubious, but companies aren't people. They don't have moral compasses. All they have are lawyers to tell them what they can and can't do.

          1. Just An Engineer

            Re: At the risk of sounding controversial...

            "On a personal and moral level it may be dubious, but companies aren't people." Actually in the US according to the SCOTUS they are people.

  3. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Not as good

    People stopped using streetmap because it was simply not as good, in just about every way you can think of.

    If it has been an equivalent offering with smooth scrolling and zooming instead of an incredibly tedious and clunky tiled interface, then they may have been able to argue the built in search results had something to do with it. As it is she's just made the lawyers richer, and literally lost the farm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not as good

      Bear in mind that to provide a decent map service requires a lot of processing power, vast storage and good connectivity, which all costs money. Google has stacks, OSM does not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not as good

        Bear in mind that to provide a decent map service requires a lot of processing power, vast storage and good connectivity, which all costs money. Google has stacks, OSM does not.

        If by "OSM", you are referring to OpenStreetMap, then that has not a great deal to do with streetmap.co.uk, which is the organisation we are discussing today.

        As the article points out, streetmap.co.uk was pulling in a quarter mill plus per month at their height, and they should have had plenty to invest in developing their platform, so there's no real excuse for it looking like something out of the late nineties.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not as good

          I seem to remember finding Mulitimap better than Streetmap before finding Google Maps better.

          1. Korev Silver badge

            Re: Not as good

            I like that you have OS maps available in Streetmap.

          2. Erroneous Howard

            Re: Not as good - Multimap

            Yup I'm with you there as well. Used Multimap regularly, at least until Google jumped ahead in the game.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC ... Re: Not as good

        Define what you mean by 'lots of processing power'?

        Its not as much as you would think. But it was definitely more than what Street Map had.

        In 2007 Google was still buying data. So they didn't have all that much compute power devoted to Maps. What they did have was bandwidth and a good UI.

        Posted Anon because I know something about making maps.

      3. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: Not as good@ AC

        This is about streetmap.co.uk not OpenStreetMap.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Not as good

      I always wanted to use it, but the jumps in magnification were too crude and they offered no way to embed their maps. This was the killer for me. A nice little bit of iframe code generation would have given them a good chance. I was looking for maps that didn't have our competitors and the local chip shops all over it. Could have been them, but no

      But the judges who felt that Google wasn't a dominant player in search really should check out dictionaries, where 'to google' is a new verb.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not as good

        Re Hollerithevo

        Well the means to make your own mapserver without chip shops can be found on the OSM pages , along with free mapservers.

        You can even add a layer for your own locations

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Not as good

        but the jumps in magnification were too crude and they offered no way to embed their maps.

        I seem to remember that part of Streetmaps problem was the use of OS maps, where at the time the OS were 'iffy' about the use of their full mapping data - hence one of the reasons why Streetmaps used tiles and zoom used different ranges of OS maps.

        Obviously, looking at Bing's use of OS maps, whilst they have a better zoom, but still don't have access to the full suite of OS maps.

        The big benefit of OS maps is the grid, I know by simply looking at the map what 1km looks like at the scale I'm displaying it at. With Google maps (and others) this handy aid is absent.

        The other benefit is the consistent usage of symbols, colour and line style, which is cross-referenced to a legend.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not as good

          "Obviously, looking at Bing's use of OS maps, whilst they have a better zoom"

          Bing also swap between different scaled OS maps but they also zoom to different magnifications of these so you have a choice of too small to be legible, legible and jaggies. I find the zoom painful to watch and unnecessary as only one magnification is really usable. OTOH Bing has better scrolling. If Streetmap were to disappear I suppose I'd have to use Bing but it would be an unpleasant experience.

          One issue common to Streetmap and Bing is the search: they only seem able to find place names starting from the first word; if, for example, you search for Nibley their choices will include a couple of villages called Nibley, Nibley Lane, etc. but miss North Nibley. Google has the edge in this.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Not as good

            "Bing also swap between different scaled OS maps but they also zoom to different magnifications of these so you have a choice of too small to be legible, legible and jaggies."

            If you're using GIS as the underlaying engine then this should all be stored as points plus vectors and scaling is no longer an issue. It's not difficult to draw maps with the level of details required for navigation on the fly.

            You only have jaggies if you're scaling a fixed image.

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Not as good

      Unfortunately I have to agree here, whilst I sympathise with her at a personal level.

      If people liked StreetMap then they would have been bookmarking the URL and so would not have been swayed by the Google search ranking.

      I used to use Streetmap a lot, BUT that was because there was no alternative. Once Google Maps came along, the difference in functionality was clear and I never went back.

      I don't know if they would argue that they could have invested in a better interface if their monthly revenues had not dived so much, but once Google brought out a Maps service the writing was on the wall. Bing Maps, Apple Maps and the advent of mapping licensing for mobile devices (Nokia/TomTom) would have killed them off in another few months anyway.

      I think that you can see the same thing happened to Yellow Pages (used to be 6 cm + thick, now < 1cm thick and discarded as soon as it hits the doormat), FriendsReunited, FotoServe...

      I feel sorry for her, but I think that it was a mistake to pursue things this far - particularly against someone with pockets as deep as Google.

      The article suggests she may have had some funding, so at least she may not have had to sell up to fund the case, but if she has sold family assets to refinance Streetmap then she IMHO is once again mistaken.

      The world does not need another mapping applicatio - that is a fight from another era, and already won by the giants (or provided by OpenStreetMap if you eschew the commerce-led offerings).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Steve K Re: Not as good

        First, circa 2007, Google was buying map data from Navteq. (Before Nokia bought them). Apple too. Garmin, certain car manufacturers... Navteq missed a huge opportunity in not going online and creating a mapping website. Or combining data sets... Lets just say that the management of Navteq were fat dumb and happy at the time and didn't care about innovation.

        Tom Tom bought Tele-atlas which forced Nokia to buy Navteq.

        There's more, so much more but even as an AC, I'm still limited what I could say. ;-)

        But yes, while she had a case, it was a tough one to prove in courts especially where the burden of proof was on her to plead her case.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not as good

        What's being forgotten is Google maps was in beta, needing specific searches to even find for many months. Streetmap had many months of notice to up their game and did nothing. All that time they were benefiting from sites linking to them but Maps was building loyal users that had to find it themselves.

        Streetmaps lost long before Google started actively competing, through complacency.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @druck Re: Not as good

      You have a couple of issues.

      First, all map data is stored in tiles. Its more efficient that way.

      Second, what you described is the UI and not a question about the data quality.

      There's more to it, but you get the idea.

      Not having the infrastructure and not having their own source data for maps is what killed them.

      One could argue though that they couldn't raise the funds because Google shut them out.

      They should have spent more on better lawyers.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @druck Not as good

        "not having their own source data for maps is what killed them"

        I can't see why anyone would want to provide their own source when the OS is available. They're not going to match it.

        1. Fonant

          Re: @druck Not as good

          Licensing issues. The OS licences are complicated, based on the use of paper maps and difficult to apply to online use, and very expensive.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Dr. Syntax ... Re: @druck Not as good

          Clearly you've never worked in the map industry.

          I have which is why I post AC.

          The OS maps are not as accurate as those acquired by driving the roads... repeatedly.

          Again there's a lot I can say but legally not allowed.

          1. Jan 0

            Re: @Dr. Syntax ... @druck Not as good

            > The OS maps are not as accurate as those acquired by driving the roads... repeatedly.

            Google accurate? Only in parts. That's precisely the reason why they dont show useful features like pedestrian or cycling footbridges, legal cut throughs in closed roads and all those little alleys that a pedestrian can use. Most of it's collected in Streetview and satellite images, but it's not applied to Maps.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not as good

      Indeed. She is sounding like sour grapes. As a consumer, I would expect to see Google Maps higher up in search results, BECAUSE IT'S A BETTER PRODUCT.

      Anything else, and that's not right.

      I would also point out plenty of Google services, where the search results serve up competitors products before their own.

    6. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Not as good

      If half the dickheads that get stuck climbing the steepish roads round here would use streetmap instead of google it would make life a lot easier, Google 2d Streetmap 3d - far better.

      1. Mr Commenty McComentface

        Re: Not as good

        Fair comment of proper maps vs 2d representations..

        However.. how many of those dickheads getting stuck would be able to read a proper map representation (be it paper of 'net based)? Not that many I'd wager so it would not improve the situation.

  4. Jan 0

    Disgustingly Evil

    I'm truly sorry for Kate Sutton, for everyone who helped make Strreetmap work for us and for all of us users who could have had access to better maps. To heap insult on upon their nefarious behaviour, Google still hasn't learned how to create useful maps!

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Disgustingly Evil

      Google still hasn't learned how to create useful maps!

      Not being snarky, but can you clarify why Google Maps are not useful?

      1. Jan 0

        Re: Disgustingly Evil

        @Steve K

        Useful maps, are drawn clearly, roads get exaggerated widths which are easier to comprehend, colours are used to convey additional information, legends are rendered in highly legible typefaces. I'm not saying that Streetmap was perfect, clearly the interface was a lash up, but the actual map was better than Google's. Neither was a patch on the kind of maps that OS, IGN produce and many programs are able to display maps based on OSM (Openfietsmap and the like) with far more information and clarity than Google maps. I'm just someone who doesn't appreciate getting lost, I hope that someone with cartographic expertise will step in and explain better why Google maps are so weedy. Is it because people in the USA aren't exposed to the sort of maps that Europeans take for granted?

        Dammit, I want tracks and paths clearly differentiated. I want to see rights of way, land boundaries, terrain.

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Disgustingly Evil

          @Jan 0

          Thanks for clarifying your use-case.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Disgustingly Evil

            To be fair, it's not really a use-case per se. He's right that Google maps display far, far less information than the paper maps from OS that we used when orienteering as kids.

            1. mdava

              Re: Disgustingly Evil

              He's right that Google maps display far, far less information than the paper maps from OS that we used when orienteering as kids.

              I agree entirely.

              However, I don't use Google Maps for orienteering (and I'm certain that 99.99% of other users also don't). For that I would want a paper map (for anything "serious") or find another app that provides this (Ordnance Survey) for walks in the woods.

              For finding addresses, finding businesses or restaurants, getting directions, sat nav with live traffic information, street view, traffic data etc etc etc Google Maps is streets ahead (apologies for lazy pun).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Disgustingly Evil

                When there are multiple lanes exiting a highway, HERE and Google maps will tell you which lane to stay in. I should know. I wrote that code.

                Again, there's more but I am posting as AC because I really do know what goes in to making a map.

                There's more to a road than just a couple of road links stitched together. And a lot of work is done smoothing out the road links after a drive.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Disgustingly Evil

                Viewranger is good for walking.

            2. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Disgustingly Evil

              >To be fair, it's not really a use-case per se. He's right that Google maps display far, far less information than the paper maps from OS that we used when orienteering as kids.

              He was explaining why he didn't find Google Maps useful; it's impossible to define 'useful' outside the context of use.

              In any case, there will always be people whose use for maps goes beyond what Google Maps, Streetmap or even OS Landranger can deliver. There is a lot of geographic information available if you pay for it. I remember ordering some CDs from Ordnance Survey for around £100 a pop containing *.XYZ files. These files are exactly what they sound like, and the roughly two million points in each file described the terrain of a small area of countryside - when opened in AutoCAD, one could make out features on the scale of roads and houses.

              Similarly, some Soviet-made maps of the UK were made that had even greater detail than the OS possessed, such as how wide and strong bridges were. Their intended use? Aiding in an invasion of Britain without getting your tanks stuck.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Disgustingly Evil

                "Similarly, some Soviet-made maps of the UK were made that had even greater detail than the OS possessed"

                They also included some details of military installations that the OS omitted in case they got into enemy hands!

            3. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Disgustingly Evil

              Google maps are pretty poor, their USP are the easy linking, street view, and route calculation, their weak spot, is the rather poor grey on grey map, and lack of national standard map features.

              Google do not even support the grid reference, what kind of map is it without the grid?

              This is the UK, we have the best mapping agency there is, we expect to see maps of similar quality, only Streetmap and Live have easy use of OS maps.

              1. Fonant

                Re: Disgustingly Evil

                Google do not even support the grid reference, what kind of map is it without the grid?

                Google don't support the restricted OS/OSNI grids that only works in the UK. Instead they support the global grid, WGS84 longitude and latitude, that covers the entire globe. It also happens to be the grid that GPS uses, so works perfectly with the location data available to mobile devices.

                Don't misunderstand me, I am a major enthusiast of OS mapping, and the UK Grid Reference system: I have even been a member of the Charles Close Society. It's just that longitude and latitude work better for global mapping, as they always have done.

        2. The Fly on the Wall
          Facepalm

          Re: Disgustingly Evil

          USGS is pretty good, on the order of the OS maps I've seen. (Old school maps were better than the new ones, but went out of date quick), the FAA's are among the best in the world, but of limited use. I'd never use Google for anything serious, like a long distance roadless journey.

          Most people allow the word "map" to have different meanings, with different usages. If I want to cross death valley on foot, I'm going to get a USGS quadrangle, if I want to fly from New York to London, I'm going to use an FAA airmap and whatever the British equivalent is. If I want to get turn by turn directions, I'll use a Thomas guide.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Disgustingly Evil

        "can you clarify why Google Maps are not useful?"

        Take an example. Look up Hardknott Pass on Google and streetmap.co.uk. What does Google tell you about the steepness of the road and the terrain in general? Now what does the OS map on Streetmap tell you? In case you're not used to reading maps I'll tell you that the OS's little chevrons on the road mean "steep" when single and "bloody steep" when doubled (1 in 7 to 1 in 5 and more than in in 5 respectively). What does Google tell you about the features you'd see from the road? What does the OS map tell you?

        As I've written in other comments, Google maps are really just street maps, the OS maps streetmap.co.uk uses are real maps.

    2. Fonant

      Re: Disgustingly Evil

      Google still hasn't learned how to create useful maps!

      Ah, but Google's maps are perfect for what Google want to use them for: advertising business locations and other locations that keep Google the top search-engine choice (rather essential for their whole business model to survive).

      A grey-grey map seems a poor design choice, until you realise that the boring grey base mapping makes locations stand out really nicely. Making the same locations stand out against the top-quality OS Landranger mapping is much more difficult.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self serving tripe. Maybe when giving a soapbox like this the journalist concerned should be bothered to do some actual research rather than just pressing 'submit'.

    In 2007 when the person in question claims his solution was technically superior, Google maps was full of ajaxy goodness, with draggable maps and fast response times and all sorts of things that made people in my office go "ooooo" (that's a quote).

    Streetmaps then was an arrow clicking affair with bad response times, a lousy appearance and an appalling user interface with endless turn rounds. It prompted swearing not ooo-ing. You still can't use your mouse wheel on it to zoom in and out. Scanned in A-Z maps was and still is a lousy way to present map information on a computer screen.

    Maybe rather than just bemoaning the dwindling revenue stream they should have started paying some of that revenue which was apparently almost £300000 a month into investing in some talented programmers and designers who could have kept the site up to date.

    But apparently spending it all on lawyers was a better option.

    Google is a damn search engine. If I search for a postcode I want to see a map. Furthermore I want to see the best one. The easiest to use one. The one with the best interface. That wasn't streetmap before Google maps came out and it certainly hasn't been it for a single day since.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The product might not have been as good as Google's but that doesn't mean Google didn't abuse its effective monopoly of search in order to kill it.

      I certainly hope no one believes that if a rival product had been superior Google would have selflessly promoted it ahead of its own offering.

    3. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Maybe the gobby commentard should read past the headline and see that the "he" that he talks about is actually a she. The story isn't written to say Streetmap was objectively superior to Google Maps, it's very clearly denoted as "she says", letting you make your own mind up as to whether you agree with the statement or not.

      Kind regards,

      The journalist who went down to the High Court and took down the application for appeal verdict word by word.

      1. Andy Tunnah

        Who gives a toss about if he used the sex wrong. You're completely missing his point to direct the outrage towards a gender issue.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Sorry, it is you who are completely missing the point to jump straight to an "everything's sexism, isn't it?" argument.

          The commenter did not read the article with enough attention to even note that the defendant was a woman. That's a pretty basic thing to get wrong, especially as her name is in the very first sentence (and "Kate" isn't exactly an ambiguous name), and the article repeatedly uses the word "she" throughout. Not knowing this basic fact is a strong indication that the they merely skimmed the headline and the last paragraph.

          I think it's entirely fair to call someone out on making strong assertions based on the most glancing skim over what was actually written. ...If only in solidarity with the poor bastards who have to work for managers who do it day in, day out.

          1. Stuart Moore
            Joke

            To be fair

            He could have assumed Kate was short for Bob

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        The journalist who went down to the High Court

        But did you get there by using Google Maps or Streetmaps, "gazthejourno"?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Google maps was full of ajaxy goodness, with draggable maps and fast response times"

      And Streetmap's maps were full of detail. Oddly enough, when I look at a map I want detail, not shiny.

      "Google is a damn search engine. If I search for a postcode I want to see a map. Furthermore I want to see the best one."

      And if I put a post code into Streetmap I'll see it on a map. Ironically it is actually a full-featured map I'll see it on. If I see it on Google I'll see it on something that's really no more than a street plan.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      In 2007, Google was still buying their data.

      I should know. I was working for one of the companies that was selling the data to Google and others like Garmin and some of the auto manufacturers.

      Google was ahead in terms of displaying the data. In part Navteq didn't see the value in providing the data online.

      Google? They would give you the first taste free. Once your website garnered enough hits, they would start charging you for the data.

      There's more. lots more....

  6. The Man Who Fell To Earth
    FAIL

    Don't be evil

    Google dropped that back in 2015, and changed it to "Do the right thing".

    "Don't be evil" wasn't vague enough.

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Don't be evil

      And just as punctuation fixed "Don't. Be Evil" It rides again with "Do the right. Thing"

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Don't be evil

      > Google dropped that back in 2015, and changed it to "Do the right thing".

      Google _NOW_ is just a larger version of DoubleClick.

      Seriously. Look at who the directors of Doubleclick were when google inadvisedly hoovered it up, and who the directors of Google/Alphabet are now. The cast your mind back to the evilness of Doubleclick.

      It wasn't so much of a poison pill acquisition as taking on a zombie and trusting that it wouldn't bite people.

  7. James Marten
    Meh

    I'm in two minds

    It's not good that it is difficult for anyone else to compete against Google, even if they are not actively doing anything evil - and Google has done nothing in this case, it's just that Streetmap wasn't as good.

    But Google is a company just like any other, albeit a big one with lots of products and services, and can't be blamed for promoting their own products. To anyone who says "but that isn't fair" - if you go to the M&S website and search for a pair of trousers, would you expect them to also show search results from Burtons and Top Man in the interest of fairness? And give them equal weighting in the results? Thought not.

    1. John 110

      Re: I'm in two minds

      Bad example.

      If M&S offered a clothing search engine then showed their own offering even though your query clearly indicated that you wanted Ben Sherman, then I might agree with you. The screenshot in the article where it even offered to correct the spelling just indicates vindictiveness.

      1. James Marten
        FAIL

        Re: I'm in two minds

        There's no vindictiveness in the screenshot - just an example of someone not knowing even the basics of web searching (which applies not just to Google, but any other). Just sticking "streetmap" on the end of a search term is too generic a word to get to Streetmap - you can't blame Google for suggesting the correction, and what should Google do with that search coming from outside the UK?

        Do the search the right way: either go to to or bookmark streetmap.co.uk and search from there, which will get results from Streetmap and only that. Or, if you really must use Google as a proxy searcher for another site, then search for "aspley guise site:streetmap.co.uk" and Streetmap's result will come up first.

        Look back a few years in these forums for the "facebook login" thread for another example of the folly of this.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm in two minds

      "it's just that Streetmap wasn't as good."

      Take any bit of countryside you want and tell me where Streetmap's map isn't as good as Google's.

      1. psynnott

        Re: I'm in two minds

        "Take any bit of countryside you want and tell me where Streetmap's map isn't as good as Google's."

        Northern Ireland

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: I'm in two minds @psynnott

          Don't forget the Faroe Islands...

  8. Adam Jarvis

    One Show's Matt Baker...

    In true David Cameron style, we need Matt Baker to ask Eric Schmidt, "Wonderful, Wonderful, just very quickly. How on Earth do you sleep at night?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbcACpriZ9s

  9. anothercynic Silver badge

    As I said before...

    ... Streetmap had the lead and stopped innovating. Google was the stroppy upstart and innovated and didn't stop innovating. That's why Google Maps became dominant.

    Yes, Kate Sutton had a challenge, but I'm sorry, but if you sit on your laurels and don't do jack, you might as well pack it in.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: As I said before...

      "Google was the stroppy upstart and innovated and didn't stop innovating."

      It's got a hell of a way to innovate before it matches OS standards. If they were really serious about producing good maps why didn't they buy the OS's mapping and add their own interface? If you're serious about maps it's content that matters and Google's mapping content is minimal.

      1. Fonant

        Re: As I said before...

        Google's mapping content is minimal.

        This is true, because Google aren't interested in maps, they're interested in locations.

        They want people to use Google rather than Bing to search for locations. Because Google has to remain the number-one source of information on the web, otherwise their advertising income dries up very fast.

        Once you've found your required location Google then encourages you to get directions to make it as easy as possible to get there: you don't even need to be able to read a map!

        The boring grey-grey map background is only there as the minimum mapping needed to show people where to find stuff.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: As I said before... @Fonant

          This is true, because Google aren't interested in maps, they're interested in locations.

          I would suggest that Google aren't interest in maps, but in creating a widely available geographic information platform onto which third-parties can readily develop and add their overlays, on to which Google can add their services, such as location based advertising.

          This approach has created both some limitations and some benefits, as any one who uses Strava (they switched from Google maps to OSM back in 2015) and similar applications/services that take real world GPS data and try and marry it to map data, the issues become quite pronounced with the handling of elevation. However, this usage (mapping of real world GPS on to map) has also given problems with OS maps, as at times the map has been drawn out of scale and distorted so as to enable the presentation of important details.

          So

  10. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    “I’m happy that I fought the battle because at least I kept some lawyers in wine”

    FTFY

    I use streetmap a lot, because it has far better maps than google's : they're OS based. And you can save the tiles, unlike google. And stick them back together if you have the patience.

    Google may be convenient for city use, but all that fancy stuff doesn't make it a better product.

  11. juice Silver badge

    It's not about the technology...

    Instead, the question being asked in court is: did Google abuse it's search-engine dominance to starve out Streetmap, rather than just competing on merit?

    It has to be said, the "Objective justification" argument presented by Google seems somewhat strange ("In my opinion, I think I'm best for the job"?) - in fact, I'm mildly surprised there hasn't been any comparisons to the browser-integration debacle which led to Microsoft getting a slapped wrist from the EU.

    Anyhow, coming back to the technology, and Streetmap in particular...

    I have to agree that I remember mapping technology being clunky back in the day - but I can't say exactly when that day was, or which suppliers earned my wrath - or indeed, how much of it was due to browser technology and connectivity speeds being much more primitive.

    Because, y'know: it's been a decade or more. And beer.

    Equally, I can't really comment about how good Streetmap was versus Google Maps back in 2007 - as far as I know, unless someone's maintained a video archive detailing their functionality at the time, the only way to accurately compare their relative merits would be to borrow a Tardis and jump back a decade.

    Finally, I'd note that while £300,000 sounds like a large sum - I'd love to have that landing in my bank account every month - but for an IT company, it's not actually a huge amount. Once taxes and overheads are accounted for, it's only really enough to fund maybe half a dozen staff.

    In fact, I suspect Streetmaps never really stood a chance against larger companies like Google, who could throw far more resources at their implementation, as well as integrating it with their other offerings and technology, such as natural language processing.

    Perhaps if they'd gotten some investors behind them early enough, or if they'd been able to build up some sort of patent portfolio, Streetmap would have done better - other companies such as TomTom and Garmin have found themselves in similar situations and are having to evolve. But I can't help thinking that Streetmap simply weren't in a position to scale up at the rate needed to compete.

  12. Complicated Disaster

    Great Concept

    I love Streetmap *because* it uses the OS maps. It's the shocking user interface that lets it down. Maybe if they had spent some of those millions working on it??

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Great Concept

      Streetmaps use OS maps, but not to a sufficient level of detail for my liking, at the level OS map would be useful (for proper footpath detail etc.) you get some crappy A-Z style map.

      Way back I generally preferred Multimap to Streetmap but it did not take long before I preferred Google maps for general ease of use & it was easy to script up around it

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: Great Concept

        Lacks detail? Well maybe if you look at grid square SE833224 but NY235015 for example seems pretty lively. You can't search for those locations on google, but on streetmap.co.uk you can.

        It would be nice if they added the 1:10000 scale maps though...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can someone explain me why Google feeds old maps in Lightroom 5?

    Gelocation data in some photos of mine are shown over a map that is at least eight years old (much older than the photo date in the EXIF files, if anybody wonders).

    While in Google Maps itself far more recent data are shown. I found it when I imported photos shoot in an area that was heavily changed.

    Another way to make competition look bad?

  14. TheProf
    Trollface

    I hate Google

    I googled 'maps' and not only did they offer me their map but they also offered me a lot of maps produced by their competitors.

    Bloody dominant 'stards!

  15. iRadiate

    Streetmap App

    Thought I'd try and support them by downloading their mobile app and switch to using that instead of Google's app.

    Unbelievable that in the 10 years they've been crying foul they, haven't designed a mobile app. 90% of my mapping stuff happens on my phone.

    When things were going well they should have invested in their business. When things started to go bad they should have invested in their business. When things went to pot they should have tried to at least keep pace with their competitors.

    I have no sympathy for them just as I have none for taxi drivers bitching about Uber.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streetmap App

      Uber is different tho', it manipulates the gig economy to sidestep to costs inherent to any business operating licensed, compliant taxi service that pays its staff fair remuneration and offers clients predictable costs for their journey. Sure Taxi's in general were slow to take advantage of the internet as a method of taking bookings but Uber are using more than just that to establish their foothold and by choice I would choose a genuine local taxi form over some random Uber dude(tte) anyday.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Streetmap App

        Never really liked Uber as an entity, but at least they seemed to have shaken up the Taxi market somewhat.

        In the past 20 years and until very recently, the only real customer facing technology changes most taxi firms seems to have adopted, were SMS notifications that your car is nearly there, and phone number recognition when ordering, i.e. "Press 1 to be picked up from <blah blah>, otherwise Press 2 to talk to an operator".

        But now, even my local Taxi firm has a mobile App (I'm guessing some branded app that multiple taxi firms use), that includes favourite locations, geolocation pickups (i.e. "I have no idea where I am, just come pick me up"), shows where your taxi is on a map in real time, with a real time ETA, a call-your-driver button, payment processing if you want/need it, so no need for cash or messing about with cards in the car, automatic notification when you car is a minute away, so you can make your way outside to meet it etc etc.

        I'm fairly sure, if Uber didn't exist, then little would have changed in the last 2 or 3 years.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all those who rate google maps

    Remember that all the data you generate goes straigh into their Ad system.

    You are the product not the other way round.

    As the great Leader of the western world, Donald the First says, globalisation is evil. That means, Google is evil. Well, we know that already.

    Stop using Google. Don't feed the fire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To all those who rate google maps

      Show us an alternative that's as easy to use, as integrated, as well-knowledge (such as including live traffic data), AND works straight up on a stock Android device and I'll consider it. Thing is, I've tried all the others and, as noted, something critical is missing from each one.

  17. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Mobile phones

    In 2007 most people didn't have a big-screened (i.e 4"+, no hard keypad) mobile phone. Touch-screen iPhones, feature phones and later Android phones - all with data connections and GPS - became the norm in the U.K.

    Now, I find it more useful to look at maps when I am out and about than when I'm sat at home or work (where I know where I am). I imagine this is true of most people. Back in 2007 I would sometimes print maps from a desktop computer to take with me, but haven't done so for years, because I have a smartphone., or failing that, a ring-bound road atlas.

    I sometimes still use the road atlas, but as a food tray on my lap so that I don't spill brown sauce on my trousers. This trouser-protecting feature is one that StreetMap and Google Maps both have yet to implement.

  18. M7S

    The world does not need another mapping application !

    Really?

    You might equally argue that it doesn't need another satellite based navigation system but I understand that currently the fourth is well on the way to being complete, and these are not exactly cheap.

    Be it that you might want to ensure the quality of your own maps or control the information that can be seen (IIRC the OS redact certain information regarding military premises from publicly available maps) or just don't want to be dependent on some other provider outside your borders/power bloc, it is usually a good idea to have alternatives/resilience for anything reasonably important otherwise we'd all be using aol email addresses. Personally I find streetmap more relevant to my needs than Google's but accept that for many this is not the case.

    Even if you're not a tin foil hatter concerned that every map query to google will be used to build a file of your "interests" or sell you something (and yes I know that somehow it all has to be paid for), there's always the chance that, one day, someone may well just turn that company/service "off" if a business model no longer works or a regulator bans it from a certain market.

    Then where would we be?

    (Yes yes, I know, "Right here", sigh)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The world does not need another mapping application !

      "You might equally argue that it doesn't need another satellite based navigation system but I understand that currently the fourth is well on the way to being complete, and these are not exactly cheap."

      They're also politically and militarily motivated. None of the owners of the four systems wants to be at the mercy of the other three, especially in the event of disagreements or even a conflict.

  19. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    But Streetmap was crap...

    As per my title. Streetmap was crap. Google just delivered a better product.

    In the same way that Mapometer (as an application) is better than Google maps (although it uses the API) for planning bike rides and running routes etc.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brand Failure

    Your screenshot is the perfect example (if the inability to assert Trademarks was not enough) of why you shouldn't build your online brand on dictionary words - if they were called 'zippity maps' that particular visibility issue would disappear - although people would still use Google Maps as they've invested fortunes in acquiring and creating data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brand Failure

      Apple don't seem to be doing too badly!

  21. GingerOne

    Am I missing something here? A company promoting it's own product before it's competitors? And? Do people expect them to promote comptetitors products over their own?

    If Streetmap wanted to be top of the search results they should have down two things. One, keep up with the times, even Apple and Here maps are better than Streetmap these days. Two, build their own search engine and put themselves at the top of the results for everything.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      RE: "Am I missing something here? A company promoting it's own product before it's competitors?"

      That would be abusing their position as a monopoly, the same thing that Microsoft got slapped over when it came to web browsers. I'd imagine that Google get accused of this whenever they add a new service, as they really are the leading search provider (China and Russia notwithstanding) and so in a prime position to drive out the competition from whichever market they choose to stick their nose into.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rule of Acquisition 109

    Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.

  23. JustNiz

    I really don't have any sympathy for her.

    It seems pretty obvious that it was always at best a high-risk case. It was utterly stupid of her to literally bet the farm on such a tenuous claim. She'd have had far more of a chance of success by just going to Vegas and putting it all on black.

  24. hellwig Silver badge

    Headline: Competitor without rival Search Engine Complains

    Yeah, so the issue here is that Google's search engine is a PRIVATE service. They are under no obligation to provide search services, there is no government standard for providing search services, and they certainly aren't subsidized by the government.

    WHY oh WHY does everyone complain about their listings in Google? Do any of those people pay Google for listings? NO. No one gets to pay Google for general listings. You can pay for sponsored results, but the listings that are free are determined solely by Google's proprietary algorithms.

    How is Google abusing a service it gives out for free (free to both common consumers and businesses)? If Streetmap had paid for Ads, and Google was still promoting itself over those paid ads, that would probably be some violation of contract. But that's not what happened here.

    Even Google can't promise your results are 100% accurate (it can't promise every website is indexed or that all returned results are complete and correct). So when those results don't match what you'd like them to, you can just sue Google?

    Yes, Google has a dominant position on the internet, only because your common user is a complete moron. If you want Streetmaps, WHY do you GOOGLE it? Go directly to Streetmap's website, idiot! It reminds me of issues with spam filters. Legitimate newsletters get filtered as spam because people are too lazy to unsubscribe. They just keep clicking spam until the letters no longer show up. People don't know how to use the internet, so they just keep Googling things.

    There was an episode of parks and recs where, in order to get to any URL, the guy goes to altavista.com and searches for the website. Apparently, this is how anyone wanting to find street directions in the UK using Streetmap operates.

    If I go to Google and ask for directions, I assume I will get Google Maps results. If I wanted Map Quest or Bing results, I would go to THOSE websites. How can Streetmaps argue that people going to Google.com and asking for directions want Streetmaps' directions instead of Google's? And how is Google on the hook to provide someone else's results.

    Next, Microsoft will argue that when people go to Google.com and search for a website, Google should be providing Bing results of that search instead of Google results. Because clearly people want Bing results, but are somehow forced to go to "google.com" to search for those results.

    Firefox, Vivaldi, Edge/IE, and probably others are actually switching to have Bing be the default search engine (for whatever reason). So, if people are getting results from Google, you can't even blame the browser anymore. People want results from Google. Companies get upset when customers get results from Google. And somehow, this is Google's fault?

  25. Wilseus

    I'm certainly not anti-Google

    But if that's justice, then I'm a banana.

  26. Gareth79

    The problem is that I'm sure Google is ranking their site on each page's merits, and it looks they are auto-generating millions of pages for each postcode and street name. Each of those would be ranked fairly badly since the page content is almost identical (even if the map tiles are parsed). Obviously Google is detecting place name searches and plugging automatic links straight into Maps.

    One other interesting thing - their robots.txt has some curious entries. It looks like when people make a complaint about their personal data somehow being included in page data, the admins put the URL into the robots.txt file rather than an on-page meta noindex.

  27. cream wobbly

    Small matters...

    There's also the small matter of search results being awful. A search for a town name without changing anything attempts to search for a street by that name. You have to explicitly choose the category of search.

    There's also the small matter of the map not being dynamic -- it's (apparently) just a bunch of scans of old OS maps. Footpaths, slopes, and such marked on 1:50000 map are not marked on the 1:100000 map. What if I want to view a footpath on the 1:100000 map? What if I was terribly hinterested in railway embankments along a long route?

    Not very good. Neither is Google Maps, but Streetmap fails to deliver on a promise never made by Google Maps, nor by the Ordnance Survey. I also see an ethical problem, making yourself look for all the world like the OS, when you're not.

    What the UK needs is for the OS to properly separate out the layers and provide good, detailed mapping at all scales, maybe even (*SHOCK!*) as layers onto Google Maps so you can do routing and whatnot.

  28. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Still a streemap user.

    It's is um... streets ahead of google for mixed walking and driving research.

    Also, a few years ago I notified them of a change in a public footpath route. The appropriate tiles were updated within a week

  29. Drew 11

    "Note the big clickable Google Map and the “spelling correction” suggested by Google, both prominently above the actual Streetmap result"

    Bzzzzt. That's not a spelling correction SUGGESTED by Google. Google has APPLIED their spelling correction suggestion and produced results for "aspley guise street map" and the user has to click the link to get the search they asked for.

    In this case, that's an important point. It's actually a "Street map" result.

    I wonder if they do automatic spelling corrections on fcuk? No I thought not.

  30. 2Fat2Bald

    Thinking about it...

    I stopped using their services when sat nav became cheap enough for me to buy one - obviating the need to print out a map before jumping in the car. Shortly after that most mobiles gained sat nav as the iPhone and Android became universal.

    I'm not sure their decline is due to competition at all. I think it might be due to being a print-out-and-drive service in a navigate-as-you-drive world.

    Google DO provide maps, but people use them to look at places remotely to see what they're like and to look for stuff.

    Now I think of it, are they really even direct competitors?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can never see why there is so much worry about where they are in search terms. You know most of the addresses you need to get to sites, you don't need to Google or Bing them.

    It's the same with porn and torrents, you don't need to Google them to find them!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And if you DON'T? And the addresses aren't obvious or prone to misspell malware attacks?

  32. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

    Justice isn't blind to honesty, it just gets a helping hand from whoever has the biggest wallet.

    Justice is not for the little person, I too have battled with a large financial organisation for the last four years, and eventually I have had to sell my home of 35 years and move into rented accommodation in order to pay the legal fees. At the final hearing last October, the judge didn't even read my defence deposition, he asked one question about when the mortgage had expired, and in spite of it having been mis-sold on two counts, awarded the building society a possession order. Unless you have unlimited funds or the backing or a large organisation, you are doomed to lose to those who have more money and resources than you.

  33. tvnewswatch

    Sour grapes

    While one might well sympathise with StreetMap, they - like many other mapping solutions - have effectively become victims due to the advent of better products coming into existence.

    Google Maps is almost taken for granted now. But it was not so long ago that people relied on books. Computers changed that with things like Microsoft's Autoroute which was a stand alone mapping program covering parts of Europe. However it was finally discontinued in December 2014.

    While useful, Autoroute had disadvantages in that one would need to update software regularly given the building of new roads. Thus began various attempts to create online versions. Some may remember Mapquest or Multimap. Multimap was eventually bought up by Microsoft and became Bing Maps while Mapquest still exists. However Google's mapping solution has surpassed the competition despite being a relative latecomer to the party.

    Indeed Google Maps is almost ubiquitous when it comes to finding one's way around the globe, even incorporating bus, train and tram timetables.

    Indeed there is nowhere in the world not covered by Google Maps, even North Korea and China is well covered, though using Google Maps in North Korea would be difficult as mobile phones are effectively banned. And in China Internet blocks and GPS anomalies make Google Maps difficult to use. This has essentially pushed out Google in favour of Baidu Maps which ironically only covers mainland China and not even Hong Kong or Taiwan.

  34. cpage

    I find streetmap.co.uk so vastly better than Google maps I really don't understand why it isn't a whole lot more popular. It has Ordnance Survey maps at various scales including 1:25,000 and larger scale street maps which always show a lot more detail than anything that Google has provided.

  35. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    streetmap.co.uk hasn't offered anything new for years

    On Android I've paid for Viewranger (excellent), trialed OS Maps (just about adequate, but total UK OS map coverage for £20 a year is possibly a good deal), and bought some specialist maps from Anquet (it's technically shite, improving in the betas, but offers a lot of interesting mapping options).

    The only scenario I can see streetmap working for is planning walks, but to actually go on a walk another map is needed - so what's the point? There's no mobile support, no offline mapping, the interface takes far too many clicks to navigate to even the most obvious locations, and they appear to have lost the ability to easily show elevation, the only thing I ever used it for. It's not even fun to navigate around to see what places are like, everything takes effort.

    With Google Maps on mobile you can navigate an unfamiliar city, in a different country, complete with streetview.

    When I'd rather use a paid option with OS maps over a free service that offers the same, there's something severely wrong.

    I feel some sympathy that they've lost a lot of money on the court case, but they shouldn't have bothered in the first place. If you have £280,000 coming in each month, a fair proportion of that should be spent staying ahead of the competition.

  36. Jake Maverick

    shocking, and just so obviously wrong!

  37. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Arguing that Google Maps aren't OS maps sort of misses the point: Google recognized that in the Smartphone Era, traditional map-reading was going to be increasingly irrelevant to the average user, since the ability to read the map would take second place to a GPS app and a street view enabling one to see what the place looked like before actually going.

    One could argue that Google Maps and Streetmap were designed for different audiences and perhaps different purposes altogether.

  38. Goit

    Need directions

    Google maps

    Location: My location

    Destination: Dignity

    You are 1027 miles away from Dignitas Switzerland

    OMW.

    1. Spoonguard
      Go

      Re: Need directions

      road to dignity

  39. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Regardless of the technology, the *content* on Streetmap is vastly hugely better than Google Maps. Just look at the article picture. THAT's a map. Google's maps are crayoned scrawls.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      A map is what you make of it. If you're out orienteering or whatever, then perhaps you'll want a map with OS's level of detail. OTOH, road maps tend to be terser with an emphasis on...well, roads. Guess what Google Maps are used for 9 times out of 10? Also, Google Maps does go the extra mile with things like traffic maps and other things that are only practical when collected in realtime.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019