Did Motorola Use A False Address To Slam Apple Maps?

Right as all the negative Apple Maps stories were coming out, Google’s Motorola division created an ad and Twitter campaign to argue that, unlike Apple Maps, Google Maps won’t get you lost. The campaign #iLost, also promoted on Google+, used a specific address as an example of one that Apple wouldn’t get right: 315 E 15th Street in Manhattan.

As the Siri screenshot indicates, Apple Maps can’t find this address. However Apple Insider says the address is a park and not a real street address at all. The blog argues that Google created a false example to make Apple look bad:

The problem, as noted by reader AMD Pettitte, is that 315 E 15th Street is not an actual address in Manhattan. A public park sits on that side of the street, making none of the block’s odd numbers a valid address . . . If you’re looking for an actual address in Manhattan, say 318 E 15th, the apartment building across from Google’s fictitious address in the park, Apple’s Maps can correctly locate it . . . 

Apple Insider asks the question: Why not just use a real example where Apple got it wrong? There have been plenty pointed out by bloggers and journalists. It does seem strange that Motorola would feel compelled to “fake” an example like this.

Was it just sloppy work on somebody’s part or something more “sinister”? We’ve asked both Google and Motorola for a comment and will update this post if we receive one.

Postscript: It turns out that, even though there’s no building at 315 E. 15th Street, it is an “address.” According to Mac Observer this is an “obscure address” but one that is nonetheless recognized by New York and other competing mapping services:

It is a legitimate, verifiable address that points to a specific location on East 15th Street. In addition to Google Maps, maps from competing services such as Bing and Yahoo, and the official New York City online map all list it as a real address.

So I guess there was nothing “sinister” going on here after all. One thing can be said, however, about all this: Apple Maps probably won’t get anyone lost on the way to 315 E. 15th Street because no real person (except those writing about this issue) will actually be looking for that address.

Postscript II: Similar to the Mac Observer post, Motorola provided us with the following statement:

The screen captures used in the #iLost social post were actual screenshots from a DROID RAZR M and an iPhone 5, with a non-residential location used as an example. The NY address used in our post is located in Google Maps as well as three other widely used sources. The device screen captures are intended as examples to more broadly demonstrate Apple Maps’ inaccuracies in comparison to Google Maps — inaccuracies which are numerous and widely acknowledged in the mediaand even on a dedicated Tumblr blog.

Related Topics: Apple | Apple: Maps | Apple: Siri | Channel: Mobile | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • JLishere

    “315 E 15th Street” returns the same Manhattan location (lat/long coordinates) on Google Maps, Bing Maps, Nokia/Navteq, Mapquest and OpenStreetMaps. Apple Maps is the odd one out – Brooklyn, to make matters worse.

  • JohnDoey

    Weak tea from Motorola.

  • Ittiam

    Apple can do no wrong. Period… Why are we even discussing this


  • Pete Austin

    “315 E 15th Street is not an actual address in Manhattan. A public park sits on that side of the street, making none of the block’s odd numbers a valid address.”, according to the linked article.

    This makes no sense: A public park is a perfectly valid address. If the range of numbers between (say) 301 and 331 was an office building, I’d expect a search on any of them to take me to that building. Similarly if that range is a public park.. If iOS Maps doesn’t direct you to parks properly, that’s a serious bug.

  • shanepbrady

    They used a real address that wouldn’t have problems if lots of people decided to actually go there, like a place of business or residential address.

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