Is Apple About To Launch A Competitor To Google Street View?
Posting on Apple Maps site shows driving schedule for "Apple Maps vehicles."
Google Street View is a dramatic and sometimes useful feature of Google Maps that helped set it apart from competitors such as Nokia Maps and Bing Maps a few years ago. Now, there’s evidence that Apple may be seeking to create its own version of Street View.
The following posting appears on Apple’s site:
It then goes on to list cities around the world where its cars will be driving, including the US, the UK and France.
In February of last year, camera-equipped vans associated with Apple were photographed driving around the San Francisco Bay area and in New York. At the time, the speculation surrounded whether this effort was about creating a Google Street View-like capability for Apple Maps or whether it was about autonomous vehicles. The answer could be both.
Photo credit: Claycord
To my knowledge, Google has never released usage data on Street View. My suspicion is that its usage numbers don’t align with the amount of resources Google has invested in it. But the investment is still justified.
Street View, though fun and interesting, is ultimately about the data that Google collects. That’s the real value of the project, rather than the imagery. It has been instrumental in improving the accuracy of Google Maps, navigation and mobile location for the company.
Apple Maps has improved dramatically since its launch several years ago. However, in many respects, it’s still not fully competitive with Google Maps.
The Apple Maps vehicles initiative is probably also about mapping data accuracy and navigation; imagery is secondary. Beyond this, if an Apple Car is being developed, as persistent rumors have suggested, such data would be potentially useful in that effort, as well.