Google Maps iPhone app has reborn in the iOS App Store on 12/12/12. It should have been a big thing but surprisingly not that many people is aware of it. Or at least Google didn’t make a big fuzz about it. Interestingly enough, when I search for “Google Maps” on App Store, it didn’t even pop up in the first two pages. Bad SEO by Google or doggie trick by Apple?
About the product, my user experience on this so far is very positive. It is a mobile product and its design is optimised for mobile. In a mobile scenario we usually want to achieve a very focus objective in a very short time frame. For this case, we are not a tourist trying to appreciate the scenery. Therefore, we don’t need the 3D world in Apple Maps. (I love to view it in toilet when I am bored — and when I have WiFi, but that’s about it.) Rather, we often want to get to an unknown place via the best route. Google strikes for the simplicity around this clear user goal and that’s how it is better: With Google, things always start with Search, and so the unknown is not a matter anymore. And for the best route, they use TomTom.
I have been using TomTom for driving direction. I get the same instruction here as TomTom and Apple Maps because after all it is all driven by TomTom anyway. However TomTom does have the advantage of having the maps and routes in App because it makes the calculation much faster (and cheaper because no 3G traffic is required).
However, perhaps these points don’t matter too much after all. In reality, for the past few days I have used Google Maps 5 times and TomTom 1 time as my GPS. As requested by Jacob, I have also tried to use Apple Maps for around 30 secs and then gave up. (By the way I have also downloaded iMelway by Melway and Here Maps by Nokia and only touched them once.) My verdict is easy: I am on the road, driving. I need to be at a place that I don’t know, and that’s why I need a map. If I know where I am and where I am going, most probably I don’t even need a map. The reason why I need a map in the first place is because I need to start from Search. That’s Google. From then on, that’s all down hill. And that’s how Google wins. Start with User Experience. Start with Why. Cheers.
(The first two screens are the direct pages after typing Melbourne Airport at the search box in Google Maps. The results also cross-referenced to any saved Maps I have created on desktop with the same Google account. Brilliant! The third screen is Apple Maps, and the last one is TomTom.)
At that time I (correctly) predicted that Google would flood the world in the mobile space. Three and a half years later, Android + Chrome conquer almost 60% of the smartphone world. Interestingly at that time I named his rivals as MS IE, Firefox and Safari, now it seems that the browsers game is not even the battleground anymore at all.
Anyway, a few days ago Google has launched Chrome on iOS. After the trial, I would say even though it is not as strategically important as how Chrome was for the desktop world at the previous age, but still it is a sticky product because the UX is smarter and neater (than Mobile Safari) (I never a big fan of Opera so I won’t compare with it).
Chrome on iPad offers Siri-liked voice search function (previously already on the Google iOS app), that’s cool, but not exciting. Syncing everything everywhere is handy, especially it remember which devices I have surfed that location with, that’s really cool.
I have put my Safari inactive and surf with Chrome on my iPhones and iPads from today onwards. No turning back.
Some might say iMessage could be the WhatsApp killer.
I would say, without friends on the list, I could only iMessaging to my own self. Useless on my iPhone. At least for now.
Anyone out there also brave enough to have iOS 5.0 installed on his/her iDevices? Please iMessage me, so that I know I am not alone. Find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any email that you could link me with.
On the other hand, I must say it has a great [Note: not great anymore] some value on my iPad. Now I could send normal SMS (before I could find someone that I could iSMS with) directly from my iPad with the Messages (between non-iOS 5.0 dude, I have to take away the “i”, for now) [Note: I have to take away the whole SMS thing for now, because after the testing I found out that basically it works only with iMessage but not normal SMS].
Well, I have (sort of) signed the NDA, so I should speak less. Nonetheless, I could let you have a sneak peak of the shots I have done without me saying too much: The notification center function is cool. The camera button is convenient but I am sticking with Instagram. iCloud is not working coz I haven’t set it up yet. Reading List could be a good function but I haven’t appreciate it too much yet coz it is not always working. Reminders is clean, but if it is not syncing with the one on my iPad or the cloud, it becomes useless to me and I would stick back to my pretty TeuxDeux.
Gameloft is launching the new Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard on iPhone tomorrow.
Now this is the sneakpeak of how the gameplay is done on iPhone via Youtube. The best part of this trailer is how the viewers (you and me) could make the decision of how the team enter the room. A kind of interactive movie (well, not exactly “interactive” as it would just jump to another clip based on what you’ve clicked) to promote new game for the first time. A nice start.
The interactive part starts at 0:30. Anything afterwards is just waiting for your click on that blue box.