Archive for December, 2012

Google Maps for iOS: Should Businesses Delete The Apple Maps App?

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Google Maps App for iOSDelete Apple Maps App

With the launch last night of the Google Maps app for iOS, I am starting to get a bit of email asking if Apple Maps should now be less of a priority for businesses.  While I have no doubt that the Google Maps app will put an immediate dent in Apple Maps usage, and while I am certainly biased (see blog name), I am not so sure it would be prudent for businesses to forget about Apple Maps.  A few points:

  1. In its first month of release, there were already over 200 million devices with iOS, which includes Apple Maps.
  2. Christmas should be a blockbuster for iPhone 5s, 4s and iPads.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in January we were looking at well over 300 million devices with iOS.
  3. While iOS users are certainly app-happy, given everything we have seen over the years about inertia and people behaving like sheep, I wouldn’t be surprised if a significant number of iOS users continue to use Apple Maps, even with reports of people dying from using the app .
  4. At some point in the next few months, you can be sure that Apple will roll out some interesting updates to their Maps app which will spur people who ditched it to revisit the service.
  5. UPDATE: Dr. Drang brings up a great point on Apple gets thrown in the briar patch: “I suspect most iPhone users will continue to use the built-in Maps app because it’s already right there and it’s integrated with Siri, Contacts, etc.”

We are witnessing the early stages of an elaborate game of one-upmanship between Google and Apple in the local search space.  Google clearly is about 100 up at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that Apple can’t make a lot of advances over the next year.  While this is nothing but a great thing for consumers, this means that businesses should at a minimum make sure their presence on Apple Maps is what they want it to be.

Here’s a link to download the Google Maps App from the App Store.

Don’t Bring Apple Maps On Your Vacation…

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And I’m not talking about your trip to Mildura, Australia.

Got an inquiry from a business in Tortola on the British Virgin Islands who wanted help in getting listed on Apple Maps.  So I did a search or two to see what was showing up and guess what…
Apple Maps British Virgin Islands

There are no business listings on Apple Maps for the British Virgin Islands.

As far as I can tell, Axciom is the only major provider to Apple Maps that has BVI info. If you are a BVI business you should probably make sure that your listing data is updated here.  It won’t get you on the maps anytime soon, but once Apple prioritizes BVI, it seems logical that they would pull from Acxiom.

This issue has inspired me to start keeping track of the Countries Where Apple Maps Is Closed for Business.  If you know of any others, please add in the comments.

 

Bing Business Prime Portal Place by Nokia?

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Or something like that…

Greg Sterling has discovered some confusion as to how a business is supposed to add or manage a listing on Bing Maps/Bing Business Portal now that Bing is in bed with Nokia’s Here Maps – Nokia Prime Place service:

There’s no mention of the Bing Business Portal. Microsoft appears to be directing people to Nokia Prime Place to “add or change” business listings. Because the two entry points appear to be duplicative or redundant it made me think that Nokia Prime Place might be replacing the Bing Business Portal, into which Microsoft has invested a great deal of effort and presumably resources.

Reading between the tea leaves, so to speak, this may mean Microsoft is currently trying to decide or figure out what the relationship should be. Or perhaps it is sunsetting the Bing Business Portal. Alternatively, maybe the two local data entry points will coexist in some strange and awkward way going forward.

There’s never been a better time to be a mapping branding consultant…

What Happens When You Report a Problem To Apple Maps?

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Apple Maps Report A Problem Screen
There have been some questions on the Apple support forum about how long it takes for a business listing update to make it to Apple Maps. While I don’t have any definitive information, here’s my speculation on how the process works when you “Report a Problem” with a business listing. If you have any insight or think I am wrong, please let me know in the comments:

According to my sources, Apple only updates its business listing index about once per month. And before an individual listing gets updated, it needs to get verified that the information is accurate. My understanding is that Apple doles the verification process out to various data vendors based on the category of the listing. So that means that the process is something like this:

1. Report a Problem submission
2. Add the submission to the batch of recent submissions and categorize update request
3. Send batch to outside vendor for verification
4. Vendor receives batch and queues it for verfication
5. Vendor verifies listing info and places into batch for submission to Apple
6. Vendor submits verfied batch to Apple
7. Apple matches up the verified data with data from other vendors (meaning sometimes the updated data gets over-written by another data vendor Apple trusts more)
8. Apple updates its listing index and (hopefully) the updated data gets pushed live

If I have come even close to accurately describing the process, as you can see before Apple pushes the update live, it could take several weeks just to make it through the verification system. And if a verified update is sent to Apple a minute after the latest index update, then it could take an additional 30 days for it to go live.

I am sure Apple is working on ways to speed up this process, but it’s likely a hugely complex system that is not easily updated.