Monday, June 18, 2012

One reason to welcome Maps in iOS 6

With iOS 6, Apple is going to ditch Google Maps for Apple's own solution.

By junking Google for Maps, we will lose Street View and, in Singapore, we will lose bus stops (thanks to Jon Petersen aka @singeo for spotting that!). And since we don't get Flyover in return, it looks like a pretty bad trade.

But there is one thing in Google Maps I won't miss -- sponsored links in Maps, especially when they screw up the search experience.

Last week, I had to look up the Holiday Inn hotel in Melaka in Maps because I had to go up to Melaka. But when I typed in "Holiday inn Melaka", what I got was a map showing the Holiday Inn in Singapore, because that was a sponsored link. I tried looking up Mahkota Parade Melaka and got an unrelated Singapore address. It took me a few tries before Google would deign to show me the Holiday Inn in Melaka. Fortunately, I have a screenshot as proof.

I suspect this happened because I did the search while on the MRT and I happened to be in the Orchard Road area at the time I did the search. Google probably took my location and decided that a Singapore result was more relevant to me than a Melaka result, which is stupid given that I had typed in Melaka specifically. But that's just a guess.

It's still early days yet for Apple's Maps app and I'm sure we'll find plenty to complain about. But hopefully, sponsored links replacing actual search results won't be one of them.

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