Apple Maps Is This Year’s Google+

apple-google-plus-240Not as good as what was already out there.

A downgrade.

Lacks essential features.

Rubbish.

Why would they release this to the public?

Those are some of the reactions that we’ve seen this week to the launch of Apple Maps.

Or are they the reactions we saw last year when Google launched Google+? They could be either.

Comparing The Launches Of Apple Maps & Google+

Apple Maps’ launch this week is a lot like the Google+ launch in June 2011 — negative initial reactions, bugs and problems with the service, and so forth. Consider:

Apple Maps Google+
Not as good as Google Maps (and other map services). Not as good as Facebook (and other social networks).
Doesn’t have Street View images, public transit, etc. Doesn’t have business pages, pseudonym support, search, an API, Google Apps integration, etc.
Filled with bugs like poor data, incorrect maps, etc. Filled with bugs like letting private posts be reshared publicly, old Picasa/Blogger photos showing up in Google+ without the user uploading them, etc.
Apple is pushing its own product even though it’s not best for users. Google is promoting its own product (in search results) ahead of what’s better for users.

Google+ First-Year Growth

Google has stuck by Google+ despite the early mistakes, and its first year was, as I described here a couple months ago, a year of hits and misses. Despite the company’s suspect history of sharing usage stats, Google+ has grown to 100 million active users.

More importantly, over the past year, Google has fixed many of the issues that were obvious when Google+ launched. Brands and businesses can have a presence now. Some users can have pseudonyms (but not all, as many would prefer the policy to allow). Privacy issues have been fixed and don’t crop up as much as they did initially.

You can still argue, and many do, that Google+ pales in comparison to Facebook — and clearly, for many social network users around the world, that’s true. There’s no evidence yet of any mass exodus of users from Facebook to Google+.

But it’s hard to argue that Google+ isn’t moving in the right direction, at least in terms of making improvements since it launched. Maybe not enough improvements, or fast enough improvements, to lure visitors from Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere … but improvements have been made.

Patience, Grasshoppers, We’re Building Something New

Google has repeatedly said that building a social network takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight. While Google’s been slowly working on its Google+ roadmap, users have gone about their business — using the popular Hangouts feature and generally ignoring some of the service’s obvious deficiencies.

Creating a new mapping service also doesn’t happen overnight. Apple, like Google last year, clearly has to focus on fixing the many issues that are already being raised about Apple Maps. The question is whether iOS users will make the most of what Apple Maps offers, and ignore what it doesn’t while waiting for Apple to make Maps better.

Or, will Google step in and try to fill the void with a new Google Maps app … and, if it does, would Apple allow it?

Google hasn’t taken any public potshots at Apple over the quality of Apple Maps — at least none that I’ve seen. That’s smart, because it would be hypocritical to ask for patience when it comes to Google+ and say that it takes time to build out a social network, then turn around and criticize a competitor like Apple for not getting Apple Maps right on day one.

For more on Apple Maps, see our coverage this week on Search Engine Land:

Related Topics: Apple: iOS | Channel: Social Media Marketing | Features & Analysis | Google: Google+ | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.yamanoor.com/ Yamanoor Srihari

    Google plus is a bridge to nowhere…

  • daveintheuk

    Perhaps this will be a valuable learning experience for Google. It is about time they felt how it is to a successful product that people love and use daily, that has been built with care and love dumped on from a great height by somebody who controls the audience and has decided to launch their own inferior product.

    I for one hope this is the begging of many more people pushing Google out from their platforms as Google has pushed ‘the rest of the internet’ off theirs.

  • http://carlospache.co/ Carlos Pacheco

    I love my Apple products but Is it just me or is Apple on a roll with launching subpar apps? The podcast app was junk and hardly worked up until a few weeks ago and now this?

    Building a bran new mapping system has got to be a monumental job. Google didn’t do a perfect job at the beginning, it got better with time and they kept updating it throughout the years and Google Map users have become accustomed to the reliability and detail of the service.

    The fact that Apple thought that they’d be able to do (with help!) something better within 2 years is typical distortion field crap. Obviously Apple’s maps will get better with updates and we’ll forget about this and fanboys will keep loving Apple.
    For me it just comes off as arrogant to release a shoddy product and expect people to just take it. A lot will but if they keep doing it over and over I fear less people will be willing to forgive and forget.

  • http://keithbloemendaal.me/ Keith Bloemendaal

    Ironically Marketing Land has more fans/followers on Google Plus than on FB…

    I use apple products (iPhone and MBP) and love them, I also love Google products, and hope they can learn to get along better. The maps app will take some time, people have become so critical of everything and this need for perfection NOW is really childish. Let things evolve, get off your phone/computer, go for a walk or something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004351989895 John Johnson

    In other non-biased news, Facebook stock is slated to fall to $15 per share, and Facebook users are leaving in droves to discover how much better Google + is.

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