Consumer Reports recently put Apple’s new Maps against Google’s Android Maps in a “showdown” to see which provides better navigation features. The result led to Jeff Bartlett writing that while “both the free Apple and Google navigation apps provide clear routing directions,” the group concluded that “Google provides a better overall package, but we feel that both provide a good solution for standard software.”
Just last week, the magazine expressed disappointment with Apple’s new Maps service in iOS 6, just like many consumers and other credible sources have done as well. The group noted that after “having more thoroughly tested Apple Maps alongside a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with Google Maps, we have a more favorable opinion – certainly more favorable than comments and articles that we’ve been reading online.”
The folks tested both apps in the New York area and stated “both Apple Maps and Google Maps route effectively, providing clear guidance and great points-of-interest integration. Their comparison went on to say Apple’s free Maps “lacks some of the features and integration found in dedicated portable navigators and other navigation apps from Garmin, Navigon, and TomTom, such as reality view, lane assistance, exit guide, and multi-destination routing.” They added that they expected the app to match the state of the art and perhaps even advance it, but that is an area where Apple fell short.
When it came to presentation, Consumer Reports found Apple’s Maps impressive with its interface, results, signage, and points of interest information. They found the customization to be a bit lacking when compared to Google’s Maps, which they considered to be a mixed blessing as distractions can be dangerous when driving. They found Google’s iteration to be a bit more “business like and less fun.” Google also was better at reporting traffic but voice recognition features proved to be the similar between the two.
When they tried to delve into “weird 3D images” which was something many users were complaining about, they found “more often than not, we found rather intriguing 3D representations that bring a map to life. The reality is, this is a novelty feature, not a component of navigation.” They also found and successfully routed to several points of interest and stated that both platforms provided comparable information about restaurants and other attractions. This discovery helped clarify the complaints about “misplaced points of interest.”
Overall, the verdict points towards Apple’s Maps app not being as bad as people make it seem, it’s just not up to par with Google’s iteration, which is something that should be expected considering how long Google’s been working on their Maps app. Despite this, Tim Cook recently released a letter apologizing
for the inconvenience the Apple Maps app has caused consumers and Apple has even created a Maps section in the App Store
to promote third-party navigation apps.
Source: Consumer Reports