2D mapping is so over.
After months of rumours it was revealed that Apple will indeed move away from its Google-powered 2D map system in the upcoming iOS 6 update, in favour of a home-grown solution. It seems appropriate, then, that Google would pre-empty that announcement to unveil its own improved mapping solution. If the tagline “the next dimension” is anything go on, it’s also going to have more than two layers.
Though Google has Street View which is ostensibly a 3D rendering of individual addresses, and Google Earth, which does a great job leveraging the company’s multitudinous data points, there has yet to be a seamless and solid way for consumers to view cities, on a macro scale, in three dimensions. Google is expected to launch that very service five days before Tim Cook’s keynote address at WWDC.
It will be interesting to see who comes out ahead here. Google Maps is the de facto standard these days (MapQuest who?) and has been integrated so well into the Android platform, including free turn-by-turn navigation, that it is ostensibly eating into the standalone GPS market. Say what you will about privacy, but Google has always maintained it wants big data, nor your data.
We’ll see what happens on June 6th, but whatever it is it will certainly be exciting.