Google’s Directionless Map Strategy

on December 13, 2012
Reading Time: 1 minute

Marco Arment on Google Maps:

What this timing (of Google Maps) really shows is how much Google needs to be on iOS. They’re primarily in the business of reaching as many people as possible so they can build up as much data and advertise to as many bodies as possible. Android is an insurance policy against their profitable businesses being locked out of other platforms, not an important profit center itself.

Google’s Android strategy is inconsistent and incomprehensible. Apple never would have created its own mapping program at all if Google hadn’t denied Apple audible turn-by-turn directions. Now – after Apple has integrated their own maps into their iOS operating system – Google gives Apple everything they ever wanted. How does that make any sense?

If Google wanted to deny Apple access to features that were on Android, then they shouldn’t have created Google Maps for iOS. If they wanted iOS eyeballs, then they should have given Apple turn-by-turn directions BEFORE Apple effectively un-integrated Google maps. The whole affair was completely counter-productive for all involved.

You can’t have it both ways. Either Google should be in the business of being on every mobile platform or Google should be in the business of Android. Trying to pursue both strategies is like trying to keep one foot on the dock and the other on the boat. You can’t get anywhere and it’s going to sink you sooner or later.