Google will be hard to beat in mobile mapping
Published: 1 October, 2008
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Mapping software is one of the most important battlegrounds on smartphones, because it underpins the key growth area of location aware services. According to a new report, Google Maps has leapt ahead of its competitors and will now be hard to beat, on the mobile as well as the PC platform.
The software has expanded its range of features aggressively in the past year, and Nokia - which paid highly for Navteq to lead its own charge into this area - will be playing catch-up, even if it chooses to partner with another established contender like Yahoo.
In the view of analysts at Cowen & Co, in the past year, "innovation at (AOL's) MapQuest and Yahoo Maps has stagnated", and although Microsoft has improved Live Search Maps, it remains the least popular of the four main offerings. "Yahoo and MapQuest do not have the resources to keep pace and are forced to aggressively monetize a declining franchise in the maps segment,"continued the analysts in their research note.
They believe maps and location services will be one of the major weapons in generating new revenues from internet services and are particularly important to Google's mobile ambitions as they are naturally mobile functions. Specific advantages that differentiate Google Maps, according to the report, include Street View and public transportation directions, both enhanced and given a high profile within the Android apps platform as seen on the newly launched T-Mobile G1. Google Maps has just launched traffic monitoring and prediction facilities for the UK.