Apple Maps Needs to Do a ‘Pepsi Challenge’ with Google Maps

Apple Maps 2

As an iPhone owner (I also have several Android phones) I use Apple Maps a great deal. However I’ve found myself using it less over the past several months. That declining usage revolves around routing and navigation.

In many ways I prefer Apple Maps to Google Maps. However I believe that Google offers more reliable navigation and is more likely to get me to my destination more quickly. When I’m at home I’m inclined to use Apple Maps because I’m familiar with the area and routes; so if there’s a mistake I can catch it. But when I’m traveling and in a rental car, I always choose Google Maps.

On a “visceral” level I have more confidence in Google’s navigation and routing. (Waze is separate conversation). I’m sure I’m not alone in this. And this is a problem that Apple will need to directly address; it can’t simply rely on being the “default map” for iPhone users.

At Apple’s 2015 developer event, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Maps were being used 3.5x more than “the next leading mapping app” (Google Maps) on the iPhone. But in June 2016 a survey of just over 2,000 US adults from Fluent argued that Google Maps is the favorite mapping app for both Android and iPhone users.

Apple Maps preferences survey from Fluent

Maps and navigation (and local search) are critical functions and features for smartphone users — as everyone reading this knows. Apple will need to invest in its mapping product in perpetuity if it’s to remain competitive with Google. Apple knows this. (Siri improvements and third party developer integration into Apple Maps are key to competing as well.)

Apple needs to tackle the problem of my “intuitive perception” that Google Maps offers more reliable navigation head on. (I don’t actually know this as a fact; I haven’t systematically tested it.) I believe the company needs a version of a head-to-head match-up, or “Pepsi Challenge,” to show that Apple Maps features and routing are as good as its rival’s. At a minimum it needs to do more to promote Apple Maps and its capabilities.

But first it must make sure Apple Maps are in fact as good as Google Maps.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed.

8 Responses to “Apple Maps Needs to Do a ‘Pepsi Challenge’ with Google Maps”

  1. Andy Kuiper says at

    I am impressed that Apple is trying to make Maps usability better, however like you, I’m a bit partial to Google Maps. I used to find Apple Maps difficult to use, not so much anymore – they are getting there 🙂

  2. Dave says at

    Wow, Greg: The difference between what Tim Cook reported and the results of that survey are really night and day. What completely divergent data. How can we believe anything?

  3. Andrew Shotland says at

    It’s possible the survey data could be skewed by respondents not knowing the difference between apps. For example, my wife still calls Google and Apple Maps “Mapquest”.

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    I think that’s certainly a possibility. We’ll never know because I don’t have any insight into the methodology or the specific survey questions.

  5. Andrew Shotland says at

    Fake News FTW!

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    Indeed

  7. Dave says at

    Andrew: Does your wife even know what you do? lol!!!

  8. SearchCap: Local SEO, link resolutions for 2017 & New Year's Day Google doodle says at

    […] Apple Maps Needs to Do a “Pepsi Challenge” with Google Maps, ScreenWerk […]

  9. SearchCap: Local SEO, link resolutions for 2017 & New Year’s Day Google doodle | Buzzbloggers-Submit Links Free | Free Web Directory says at

    […] Apple Maps Needs to Do a “Pepsi Challenge” with Google Maps, ScreenWerk […]

  10. SearchCap: Local SEO, link resolutions for 2017 & New Year’s Day Google doodle says at

    […] Apple Maps Needs to Do a “Pepsi Challenge” with Google Maps, ScreenWerk […]

  11. Sal says at

    I travel 55km (34 miles) to work and another 55km (34 miles) back home by car everyday can tell you with 100% certainty that Apple Maps fails miserably compared to Google Maps in traffic and navigation. I want to use Apple Maps as it integrated with my CarPlay but when I do, it adds about 15-20 mins to my commute in traffic conditions. I have written and sent specific examples to Apple about this over the past year with no response. Apple Maps is great for navigating in non traffic situations, but horrible when it comes to finding the best route due to traffic.

Leave a Reply